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3fia0B0m0 nf 1862 atifr 1863, 








Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and sixty-three, by 


In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the Southern District 
of New York. 


THE writer of the following pages has resided in 
the State of Minnesota twelve years, commencing at a 
time anterior to the removal of the Sioux from their 
ancient possessions to their reservations upon the 
Minnesota Eiver. He was a member of General Sib- 
ley s expedition against the savages in 1862, from its 
arrival at St. Peter s in August until its return in No 
vember, and acted as the Eecorder of the Military 
Commission which tried some four hundred of the 
participants in the outbreak. During that time and 
since, he devoted particular attention to obtaining 
from Indians, half-breeds, traders, white captives, fu 
gitives from massacres, and others, particulars of the 
various outrages and the causes of the massacre. He 
has also carefully read the public treaties and other 
documents connected with Indian affairs, and the vari 
ous newspaper articles pertinent thereto. 

From the information thus derived, he has endeav 
ored to form a connected and reliable history. He 
regrets that the haste required to place it before the 
public, while attention is directed to the subject, has 
militated against the symmetry of arrangement and 
finish of composition which should accompany such a 



work. It was his desire that portraits of Colonel 
Crooks, Colonel Miller, Major Brown, Major Forbes, 
the Eev. S. K. Riggs, and other noted men connected 
with the war, accompanied by personal notices, should 
have a place in the volume, but the publishers were 
not willing to incur the addititional expense. 

He avails himself of this opportunity to acknowl 
edge his great indebtedness to Mr. Antoine Frenier, 
the Sioux interpreter, for his patient interpretation of 
the many interviews he found it necessary to hold 
with the Indians. He now submits the result of his 
labors to the charitable perusal of the reader. 

New York City, September 30, 1863. 




The Actors. Travelers and Traders. Treaties. Condition of the 
Indians. Little Crow. The Reservations Page 13 



Predisposition to Hostility. Extortion of the Traders. Corruptions 
in the Indian Department. Red Iron and Governor Ramsey. 
Lean Bear. Sufferings of the Indians. Intense Excitement. 
Visit of the Sissetons and Wahpetons to the Upper Agency. The 
Lower Agency. The Lower Reservation. The " Soldiers Lodge." 
Council at Rice Creek 3t 



A Quarrel. A Murder. The Alarm given 52 



Council at Crow s House. The "Signal-gun" and the Attack. Es 
cape of Rev. Mr. Hindman. Burning of "the Agency." Flight 
on all sides. Captain Marsh and the Fifth Minnesota Volunteers. 
Battle at the Ferry. Council of Upper Indians. Other Day 59 



The Alarm given at St. Peter s. Re-enforcement of Fort Ridgely. 
Fight at New Ulm. Attack on Fort Ridgely by Little Crow. 
Arrival of the Upper Indians. General Engagement at New Ulm. 
Repulse of the Indians 78 




Murders at Yellow Medicine Agency. Lean Bear, White Lodge, 
and Sleepy Eyes at Lake Shetek Settlement. Horrible Outrage. 
Lady Captives. Story of Mrs. Hurd. Tidings of the Massaci-e 
reach St. Paul. Exciting Rumors Page 96 



Sibley moves up the Valley. Arrival of Troops at New Ulm and 
Fort Ridgely. No Indians found 117 



Major J. R. Brown dispatched to the Lower Agency. Fate of the 
Expedition. Battle of Birch Coolie 131 



Pursuit of Captain Strout s Force by Little Crow. Fort Abercrombic 
besieged 138 



Little Crow disposed to Peace. Troubles between Upper and Lower 
Indians. Paul s Speech to the Lower Indians. Little Crow writes 
to Colonel Sibley. Disputes as to Delivery of Prisoners 143 



Breaking up of Camp at Fort Ridgely. Battle of Wood Lake. Oth 
er Day s Pledge 167 



Need of Cavalry. Release of Captives. Military Commission ap 
pointed. Godfrey 181 


Godfrey s personal History. Painted by the Indians. What Godfrey 
did and what he saw 191 




Narrative of Samuel Brown. The Warning. Encounter with the 
Indians. Cut-nose. Little Crow s Protection Page 202 



A sad Birthday. Alarm at Lac qui Parle. The Flight. Walking 
Spirit. Sacred Nest. Good Day s Proposition. A Fright. A 
long Journey 209 



A Hurricane. Homeward March. Trials at the Lower Agency. 
The Prairie Fire. Attack on the Prisoners at New Ulm. Esti 
mate of Losses in 1862. Incomplete Preparation. Loss of the In 
dians <* 231 



Trial of Godfrey. Punishment commuted. Manner of Proceeding. 
Excuses of the Prisoners. Humors of the Court-room. Cut- 
nose. Sentences given and their Justice. Instances of New 
England "Barbarity" 251 



Reading of the President s Order to the sentenced. Regulations. 
Statements of the Prisoners. Death-dance and Song. Ascent 
of the Scaffold. The Execution and Burial 272 



Devil s Lake. Little Crow at St. Joseph. Renewed Massacres. 
Little Crow shot by Mr. Lampson and "done up" for the Historical 
Society. Son of Little Crow 296 



Mr. Brackett s Narrative. Encounter with the Indians. Freeman 
shot. Lone Prairie Grave 313 

A 2 




The Battle of Big Mound. Battle of Dead Buffalo Lake. Battle of 
Stony Lake. Skirmish on the Missouri. Page 321 



Continuance of Hostilities. Disaffection among the Tribes. Danger 
of War with the Chippeways. Cost of the Sioux War. Some 
practical Suggestions 337 



By Bishop Whipple, of Minnesota 343 



Portrait of General Sibley Frontispiece. 

Indian Tepees 15 

House of Chaska, a civilized Indian 19 

Dr. Williamson s House 23 

Squaws winnowing Wheat ; 29 

Little Crow 60 

The Captive saved 63 

Other Day 75 

Charles E. Flandreau 79 

Escape of the Missionaries 87 

Mrs.Estlick and Children 110 

Hole-in-the-Day 114= 

Red Iron 155 

Standing Buffalo 160 

Little Paul 166 

W.E.Marshall 174 

Indian Camp taken by Colonel Sibley 180 

Old Betz 182 

Camp Release 183 

Indian Boy 185 

Cut-nose 204 

Wild-Goose-Nest Lake 230 

Indian Camp at Red-Wood 233 

The Court-house of the Military Commission 238 

Prairie on Fire 241 

The Attack at New Ulm 245 

Camp Lincoln 249 

Interior of Indian Jail 273 

One of the executed Indians 292 

Devil s Lake 297 

St. Joseph, from Pembina 301 

Fort Garry 305 

Lone Prairie Grave... 320 

A **?v 






IN the month of August, 1862, the Indians of the 
Upper Minnesota initiated a massacre which stands 
prominent in the bloody drama which attends the ad 
vance of the white race across the continent. The 
atrocities by which it was attended the attempt of 
the actors to enlist other savage tribes on their behalf 
the mysterious part enacted by the negro Godfrey, 
who received from the Indians the name of " Otakle," 
or "he who kills many" the course of their great 
orator and chief, Little Crow, who was not second to 
Philip, Pontiac, or Tecumseh the perilous condition 
of the captive whites, their shameful treatment, and 
the peculiar manner in which their deliverance was 
accomplished the trial of over four hundred of the 
accu^W, and the simultaneous execution of thirty- 
eight of their number, are full of thrilling interest. 

Those engaged in the massacre were, with but few 
exceptions, members of the M dewakanton, Wahpe- 
kuta,Wahpeton, and Sisseton tribes of the great Sioux, 
or Dakota nation. They formerly occupied the north 
eastern portion of Iowa, part of the western border of 
Wisconsin, the southwestern half of the State of Min 
nesota, and adjoining possessions in Dakota ; a vast, 


fertile, and beautiful land, with great undulating plains, 
over which herds of buffalo roamed; with groves and 
woodlands in which the deer found a hiding-place; 
with countless lakes, and streams, and mighty rivers 
filled with choicest fish, and swarming with myriads 
of wild-fowl, the duck, the goose, the swan, and the 
brant ; and their shores alive with the otter, the mink, 
and the beaver. 

Their existence, customs, and manner of life have 
long been familiar to the whites. A hundred years 
before the American Kevolution, the adventurous Hen- 
nepin, the first man who gave to the world a drawing 
of the cataract of Niagara, visited them, and on his re 
turn published a narrative of his adventures. Carver, 
Nicollet, Long, Schoolcraft, Cass, Fremont, Marryatt, 
and other travelers of repute, followed afterward. Cat- 
lin, the great Indian painter, has preserved the faces 
of their prominent chiefs on his immortal canvas, and 
Schiller and Longfellow have sung of them in their 
melodious verse. 

As early as 1700 Dakotas visited Montreal, and 
Wabashaw, their head chief, was received at Mackinaw 
with greater honors than the Choctaws, Chickasaws, 
and Ojibeways, who were also present. The British 
officer in command wrote a song in honor of his com 
ing, of which the following is the last refrain : 

" Hail to great Wabashaw ! 

Soldiers ! your triggers draw ! 
Guards! wave the colors, and give him the drum ; 

Choctaw and Chickasaw, 

Whoop for great Wabashaw, 
Raise the portcullis, the king s friend is come." 

Quickly following the earliest traveler came the 





traders, to exchange the commodities of civilization 
for furs, and, intoxicated with the wild and romantic 
life, and supplied by their principals at home with 
luxuries, intermarried with the natives, and establish 
ed themselves permanently in the country. 

At first they were received unwillingly, and occa 
sional difficulties arose ; but so necessary were they to 
supply the increased wants of the Indian, that when 
the English withdrew their traders from the country 
on account of the murder of one of their number, and 
refused to allow their return until the guilty parties 
were delivered for punishment, Wabashaw, the grand 
father of the present chief of that name, to relieve the 
distress of his people, worked his toilsome way to Que 
bec, and gave himself up to be punished in the place 
of the murderer, who could not be found. 

So, too, when the war of 1812 broke out, these 
tribes, although they had made a treaty of peace with 
the United States, and ceded a tract of land at the 
mouth of the Minnesota for the establishment of a 
military post, were easily induced by the traders, who 
were English subjects, to act as the allies of their gov 
ernment, and they composed a portion of the forces 
which compelled the surrender of the post at Macki 
naw and besieged Fort Meigs. 

Some time after peace was declared our own trad 
ers gained a foothold, and in 1825 a convention was 
entered into at Prairie du Chien between the tribes and 
the United States, by which it was agreed that every 
act of hostility committed by either of the contracting 
parties against the other should be mutually forgot 
ten and forgiven, and that perpetual peace and amity 
should thereafter exist between them. In 1830 and 


1836 they ceded part of their lands in Iowa, and in 

1837 all that portion lying east of the Mississippi 
Eiver. In 1849 Minnesota was organized as a terri 
tory, and the emigration rapidly settling upon the 
eastern shore of the Mississippi soon began to require 
and encroach upon the -more fertile country opposite. 

So in 1851 the Indians were induced to sign treat 
ies by which they transferred to the United States 
over thirty millions of acres, embracing all their lands 
in Iowa, Dakota, and Minnesota, except a tract along 
the Upper Minnesota, which they reserved for their 
future occupancy and home. This commenced just 
below Fort Eidgely, and extended 150 miles to Lake 
Traverse, with a width of ten miles on each side of 
the river. 

The Senate in 1852 approved the treaty, provided 
that the Indians would agree to an amendment by 
which the reservation should also be ceded, and they 
be located in such land as the President should select ; 
and to this the Indians assented. The- President nev 
er having made the selection contemplated, and the 
Indians having moved upon the reservation made in 
the first treaties, the government recognized their 
right to its possession, and in 1858, by treaties which 
were approved in 1860, purchased from them all that 
portion of the tract on the north side of the river. 
They continued to reside on the remainder until the 
outbreak, the M dewakantons and "Wahpekutas occu 
pying in common all below the Yellow Medicine Eiv 
er, which was called the "Lower Eeservation," and 
the other two tribes the part above the river, which 
was styled the " Upper Eeservation." 

Pursuant to the various treaties, large amounts of 


money and goods were annually delivered to them, 
and labor performed for their benefit. For the super 
intendence of these matters, an agent resided among 
them, and two places for the transaction of business 
were established, one fourteen miles above Fort Kidge- 
ly, on the Minnesota Kiver, and known as the "Low 
er" or "Kedwood Agency," and the other at the 
mouth of the Yellow Medicine, and designated as the 
"Upper" or "Yellow Medicine Agency." 

The habitations of the Indians were of a very com 
fortable character. Some lived in low circular houses, 
made by themselves from wood, and covered with 
bark ; others in brick houses a story and a half high, 
constructed by the government ; and others in tepees 
of canvas, resembling the Sibley tent now in use in 
our army, which was modeled after their tepees by the 
rebel General Sibley when stationed in Minnesota. 

The different bands, under their hereditary chief, oc 
cupied separate villages, with the exception of some 
hundred families who had been induced by divers con 
siderations to become " white men," and who lived to 
gether without distinction of bands. They had their 
hair cut short, wore coats and pantaloons, attended 
church and schools, cultivated the soil, elected their 
president or chief after the manner of a republic, were 
married by a clergyman, and buried their dead in the 
ground. The others remained Indians, left their hair 
unshorn, wore the breechcloth, blanket, and leggins, 
married as many wives as they pleased, after their own 
fashion, placed their dead on scaffoldings in the open 
air, made themselves brave with paint and with the 
feathers of the eagle, went upon the war-path against 
the Chippeways, and tortured, killed, scalped, and mu- 


tilated men, women, and children. In addition to the 
Indian population were many half-breeds or mixed- 
bloods, and a large number of whites, consisting of 
traders, employes of the government, and others. 
Around the agencies were churches, and schools, and 
warehouses, and stores, and residences, and shops, 
forming thriving villages. A few miles above the 
Yellow Medicine were the churches and schools of the 
Eev. S. E. Briggs and Dr. Williamson, long missiona 
ries among the Sioux. At Lac qui Parle there was 
the dwelling-house and school of another missionary, 
the Eev. Mr. Huggins, and a store-house and black 
smith-shop belonging to the government ; and on Big 
Stone Lake, at the upper extreme of the reservation, 
and at other points, trading-posts were established. 
The reservation was fertile and well adapted to farm 
ing purposes. There was an excellent road through 
it, upon which had recently been placed, over the 
sloughs and streams, eighteen well-constructed bridges, 
two of them fifty and one sixty-seven feet in length. 
About three thousand acres had been plowed, fenced, 
and planted, and which, as was afterward estimated, 
would have yielded, had the Indians remained and 
made a proper harvesting, over one hundred thousand 
bushels of corn, potatoes, and turnips, besides five 
hundred bushels of wheat, and large quantities of 
beans, peas, pumpkins, and other vegetables. At both 
agencies were saw -mills and corn -mills, and at the 
upper agency a brick-yard, where was manufactured 
a fine article similar to that made from the Milwaukee 
clay ; also at both agencies were blacksmith and car 
penter shops, where wagons, sleds, and farming uten 
sils were made, and other ordinary work done. The 


Indians had plows, hoes, scythes, cradles, ox-gear 
ing, harness, carts, wagons, and the usual farming im 
plements, and oxen, cows, calves, and sheep, and 
horses.* Large quantities of hay had been cut and 
partially cured, and the materials for the erection of 
some seventy or eighty new buildings prepared. The 
" Farmer" Indians had coats, pants, shirts, coffee, tea, 
salt, sugar, candles, soap, vinegar, molasses, rice, and 
lard, and tubs, buckets, churns, hardware, and queens- 
ware, and other household articles. New blacksmith 
shops were being put in operation at different points, 
and at the " Lower Agency" a bed of clay suitable for 
the manufacture of brick, and similar to the one at 
Yellow Medicine, had been discovered, and work com 
menced upon it for the purpose. 

The agent, Mr. Galbraith, who was energetic and 
faithful, visited the whole reservation shortly before 
the outbreak, arid congratulated himself on the thriv 
ing appearance of affairs. A conversation which he 
had with Little Crow, their head chief, three days be 
fore the fatal 18th of August, furnished no indica 
tion of what was about to transpire. Being aware of 
Crow s influence among the Blanket Indians, Mr. Gal 
braith had previously promised to build him a good 
house if he would aid in bringing around the idle 
young men to habits of industry and civilization, and 
would abandon the leadership of the Blanket Indians. 
Crow assented to this, and the carpenter-work had 
been ordered and nearly completed ; and in the con 
versation before alluded to, Little Crow selected a lo 
cation for it, and seemed to be well pleased with its 
position. He had shortly before been defeated for the 

* See Agent Galbraith s Report. 



speakership of the Lower Indians, but he said he cared 
nothing about this, for, if elected, the other Indians 
would be jealous of him. He stated he had a store, a 
yoke of oxen, a wagon, and plenty of corn and pota 
toes, and was now living more comfortably than ever 
before. He said he had just been grinding his scythe 
to cut hay, and that two or three of his young rela 
tives were coming to help him, and that they would 
soon cure enough for winter. There was a young In 
dian of his band present who, Crow said, could make 
good gunstocks, and he showed a well-finished stock 
which he had made, and requested that he should have 
sent to him a set of tools with which to work. Crow 
had spoken of this before, and Galbraith told him he 
had sent for a complete set, and that they would soon 
arrive. These, he said, were all the requests he had 
to make, and believed they would be complied with. 
So far removed from the agent s thoughts was the 
terrible tragedy which afterward ensued, that the day 
before its occurrence, leaving his family at Yellow 
Medicine among the Indians, he started for Fort Snel- 
ling with some forty-five men whom he had recruit 
ed on the reservation, consisting of half-breeds, em 
ployes of the government, and went as far as St. Pe 
ter s. 

Over the soil which Indians had sold civilization 
had made rapid strides. From Ireland, Germany, Nor 
way, and Sweden, and many another country of the 
Old World, and from every part of the New, had come 
a quarter of a million of people, and made the land 
their home. Through the once quiet waters of Lake 
Pepin, past the tall cliff from which Winona had taken 
her death-leap, countless steam-boats puffed their way, 


and within earshot of the cave where Carver heard 
the Dakotas moaning and weeping for their depart 
ed, the locomotive uttered its harsh scream. 

At St. Anthony s Falls, over which the canoe of 
Scarlet Dove dashed when she sung her last song, 
and to which the trembling Indian brought 

"Belts of porcelain, pipes, and rings, 
Tributes to be hung in air 
To the fiend presiding there," 

prosperous villages had sprung up, and its mad wa 
ters whirled industry s vast machinery in obedience 
to the voice of man. Far and wide, where the buf 
falo roamed, herds of cattle and the quiet sheep-flock 
grazed, and the plowman turned the glebe. The scaf 
folding on which the Indian placed his dead passed 
away, and the cemetery, with its cross and whitened 
marbles, took its place. Almost within stone s-throw 
of the reservation was the prosperous town of New 
Ulm, and emigrants even crowded upon the land in- 
vacated by the treaty of 1858. Every where appear 
ed those works by which the great Caucasian mind 
asserts itself supreme. Nor did the whites fear the 
Indians. It is true that Inkpaduta and eight of his 
band, in 1858, had killed some forty persons, but they 
were outlaws from their tribe, their acts were discoun 
tenanced by their nation, and one of them fell by the 
hand of Other Day, a native Dakota. 

The weird religion of the savage, his mad dances, 
his antique traditions, his strange attire, attracted at 
tention and interest, which were increased by the cer 
tainty of his not very distant extinction, and the fact 
that he would never be forgotten while river, and lake, 
and hill, and state, and county, and city, and town 


should owe to Ms language their beautiful and har 
monious names. He passed unmolested on his hunt 
ing excursions through the settlements, and was en 
tertained at the homes of the whites, and bartered witli 
them the game which he killed. He battled with the 
Chippeways in view of the town of Shakopee, and 
danced his scalp-dance, and swung the reeking trophy 
of his victim within sound of the steam printing-press 
of St. Paul. The people of the state, and even stran 
gers from abroad, crowded unarmed and fearless to 
the agencies when the payments were made, although 
a thousand armed warriors, in their plumes and paint, 
were present. 

How many prophecies of danger there were the fol 
lowing chapter shall disclose. 





THE Indians were predisposed to hostility toward 
the whites. They regarded them with that repug 
nance which God has implanted as an instinct in dif 
ferent races for the preservation of their national in 
tegrity, and to prevent the subjection of the inferior 
in industry and intelligence to the superior. When 
they first caught sight of Hennepin they saluted him 
with a discharge of arrows. 

This inborn feeling was increased by the enormous 
prices charged by the traders for goods, by their de 
bauchery of their women, and the sale of liquors, 
which were attended by drunken brawls that often re 
sulted fatally to the participants. Death to the whites 
would have followed years ago had not commercial 
dealings with them, as before stated, become a matter 
of necessity. 

The prohibition by our government of their san 
guinary wars upon the Chippeways was another 
source of grievance. To them it appeared a tyranni 
cal act. When upbraided during last summer for 
evading this command, they answered with this home 
thrust : " Our Great Father, we know, has always told 
us it was wrong to make war, yet now he himself is 
making war and killing a great many. Will you ex 
plain this to us ? we don t understand it." This pro 
hibition was not only distasteful on account of its im- 


puted unreasonableness and tyranny, but because it 
also closed up the main avenue to distinction. 

The imagination of the Indian can not exercise it 
self in painting, sculpture, and literature, or in any of 
the arts or sciences which gain renown in civilized 
climes. His crown comes from the red hand of war. 
As their agent correctly says, " The young Indian from 
childhood is taught to regard killing as the highest 
of virtues. In the dance and at the feasts, the warri 
ors recite their deeds of theft, pillage, and slaughter as 
precious things, and, indeed, the only ambition of the 
young Indian is to secure the feather? which is but the 
record of his having murdered, or participated in the 
murder of some human being whether man, woman, 
or child is immaterial ; and after he has secured his 
first feather, his appetite is whetted to increase the 
number in his hair, as an Indian brave is estimated by 
the number of his feathers. Without the feather the 
young Indian is regarded as a squaw, and, as a general 
rule, can not get a wife, and is despised, derided, and 
treated with contumely by all. The head-dress filled 
with these feathers and other insignia of blood is re 
garded as wakan 1 (sacred), and no unhallowed hand 
of man nor any woman dare touch it." 

If you enter an Indian encampment you will notice 
the little boys engaged in shooting arrows, or in hurl 
ing miniature spears ; and over the platform upon 
which bleaches the bones of one of their heroic dead 
you will find suspended the scalp of some slaughtered 
foe. Honorable wounds are considered a sure pass 
port to " the happy hunting grounds, 2 and the slaugh 
ter of an enemy by a friend of a dead warrior is re 
garded as a powerful propitiation to the Deity on his 


behalf. By his side, in his last resting-place, are laid 
the weapons of the fray, and friends periodically visit 
it to recite his gallant deeds. 

The hostility arising from these causes was but 
trivial in comparison with that which arose out of the 
sale of their lands and the treaties therewith connected. 
The cession of their territory is necessarily enforced 
upon the Indians by the advance of the white race. 
Hunting and farming can not exist together, and the 
Indian can not and will not change his mode of life in 
a day, if ever. The whites cut down the trees ; their 
steam-boats frighten the beaver and the wild-fowl, 
and their presence drives the deer and the buffalo far 
to the west. Were the treaties fairly obtained,- and 
all their stipulations fully carried out, regrets- for* the 
homes they had lost, and the narrow limits, 1 soD n des 
titute of game, into which they are crowded , would 
soon bring repentance of their bargain, and force a 
bloody termination of the conflict of the races. But 
the treaties are born in fraud, and all their stipulations 
for the future are curtailed by iniquity. 

The traders, knowing for years before that the 
whites will purchase the lands, sell the Indians*-goods 
on credit, expecting to realize their pay fronrthe con 
sideration to be paid by the government. They thus 
become interested instruments to obtain the consent 
of the Indians to the treaty; and by reason df their 
familiarity with their language, and the assistance of 
half-breed relatives, are possessed of great facilities to 
accomplish their object. The persons deputed by the 
government to effect a treaty are compelled to pro 
cure their co-operation, and this they do by provid 
ing that their debts shall be paid. The traders obtain 



the concurrence of the Indians by refusing to give 
them farther credit, and by representing to them that 
they will receive an immense amount of money if 
they sell their lands, and thenceforth will live at ease, 
with plenty to eat and plenty to wear, and plenty of 
powder and lead, and of whatever else they may re 
quest. After the treaty is agreed to, the amount of 
ready money is absorbed by the exorbitant demands 
of the traders and the expenses of the removal of the 
Indians to their reservation. After that, the trader 
no longer looks to the Indian for his pay ; he gets it 
from their annuities. He therefore does not use the 
same means to conciliate their good will that he did 
when he was dependent on their honesty. Claims 
for depredations upon white settlers are also deducted 
out of their moneys before they leave Washington, on 
insufficient testimony ; and these are always, when 
based on fact, double the actual loss, for the Indian 
Department is notoriously corrupt, and the hand ma 
nipulating the machinery must be crossed with gold. 
The ^expenses 1 " 1 of obtaining a claim enter into the 
amount demanded and allowed. The demand is not 
only generally unjust, but, instead of its being deduct 
ed from the moneys of the wrong-doer, it is taken from 
the annuities of all. This course punishes the inno 
cent and rewards the guilty, because the property 
taken by the depredator is of more value than the 
slight percentage he loses. 

Many of the stipulations as to establishing schools, 
and furnishing them with farming utensils, are never 
carried out. Building and supply contracts are en 
tered into at outrageous prices, and goods belonging 
to the Indians are put into the traders 7 stores, and sold 


to their owners, and the moneys realized shared by 
the trader and the agent. About four hundred thou 
sand dollars of the cash payment due the Sioux under 
the treaties of 1851 and 1852 were paid to the traders 
on old indebtedness. So intense was the indignation 
of the Indians that there was serious apprehension 
that they would attack the government officials and 
traders. The opposition of Eed Iron, the principal 
chief of the Sissetons, became so boisterous that he 
was broken of his chieftainship by Governor Ramsey, 
the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and one of the 
commissioners who made the treaties. 

An eye-witness has sketched the appearance of the 
chief on that occasion, and the interview between him 
and the governor, and what afterward transpired. It 
took place in December, 1852. The council was 
crowded with Indians and white men when Red Iron 
was brought in guarded by soldiers. He was about 
forty years old, tall and athletic ; about six feet high 
in his moccasins, with a large, well-developed head, 
aquiline nose, thin, compressed lips, and physiognomy 
beaming with intelligence and resolution. He was 
clad in the half military, half Indian costume of the 
Dakota chiefs. He was seated in the council-room 
without greeting or salutation from any one. In a 
few minutes, the governor, turning to the chief in the 
midst of a breathless silence, by the aid of an inter 
preter opened the council. 

Governor Ramsey asked, "What excuse have you 
for not coming to the council when I sent for you?" 

The Dakota chief rose to his feet with native grace 
and dignity, his blanket falling from his shoulders, 
and purposely dropping the pipe of peace, he stood 


erect before the governor with his arms folded and 
right hand pressed upon the sheath of his scalping- 
knife. With the utmost coolness and prepossession, 
and a defiant smile playing upon his thin lips, and his 
eyes sternly fixed upon his excellency, with firm voice 
he replied, 

"I started to come, but your braves drove me 

GOVERNOR. " What excuse have you for not com 
ing the second time I sent for you ?" 

BED IRON. "No other excuse than I have given 

GOVERNOR. "At the treaty I thought you a good 
man ; but since, you have acted badly, and I am dis 
posed to break you I do break you." 

BED IRON. "You break me! My people made me 
a chief. My people love me. I will still be their 
chief. I have done nothing wrong." 

GOVERNOR. "Ked Iron, why did you get your 
braves together, and march around here for the pur 
pose of intimidating other chiefs, and prevent their 
coming to the council ?" 

EED IRON. "I did not get my braves together; 
they got together themselves to prevent boys going to 
council to be made chiefs to sign papers, and to pre 
vent single chiefs going to council at night to be 
bribed to sign papers for money we have never got. 
We have heard how the M dewakantons were served 
at Mendota that by secret councils you got their 
names on paper and took away their money. We 
don t want to be served so. My braves wanted to 
come to council in the daytime, when the sun shines, 
and we want no councils in the dark. We want all 


our people to go to council together, so that we can 
all know what is done." 

GOVERNOR, "Why did you attempt to come to 
council with your braves when I had forbidden your 
braves coming to council ?" 

EED IRON. " You invited the chiefs only, and would 
not let the braves come too. This is not the way we 
have been treated before ; this is not according to our 
customs, for, among Dakotas, chiefs and braves go to 
council together. When you first sent for us there 
were two or three chiefs here, and we wanted to wait 
till the rest would come, that we might all be in coun 
cil together, and know what was done, and so that we 
might all understand the papers, and know what we 
were signing. When we signed the treaty the traders 
threw a blanket over our faces, and darkened our eyes, 
and made us sign papers which we did not understand, 
and which were not explained or read to us. We 
want our Great Father at Washington to know what 
has been done." 

GOVERNOR. "Your Great Father has sent me to 
represent him, and what I say is what he says. lie 
wants you to pay your old debts in accordance with 
the paper you signed when the treaty was made, and 
to leave that money in my hands to pay these debts. 
If you refuse to do that I will take the money back." 

EED IRON. " You can take the money back. We 
sold our land to you, and you promised to pay us. If 
you don t give us the money I will be glad, and all 
our people will be glad, for we will have our land 
back if you don t give us the money. That paper 
was not interpreted or explained to us. We are told 
it gives about 300 ($300,000) boxes of our money to 


some of the traders. We don t think we owe them 
so much. We want to pay all our debts. We want 
our Great Father to send three good men here to tell 
us how much we do owe, and whatever they say we 
will pay, and (pointing to the Indians) that s what all 
these braves say. Our chiefs and all our people say 
this." All the Indians present responded " Ho, ho." 

GOVERNOR. " That can t be done. You owe more 
than your money will pay, and I am ready now to pay 
your annuity and no more, and when you are ready 
to receive it the agent will pay you." 

BED IRON. " We will receive our annuity, but we 
will sign no papers for any thing else. The snow is 
on the ground, and we have been waiting a long time 
to get our money. We are poor; you have plenty. 
Your fires are warm ; your tepees keep out the cold. 
We have nothing to eat. We have been waiting a 
long time for our moneys. Our hunting season is 
past. A great many of our people are sick for being 
hungry. We may die because you won t pay us. We 
may die, but if we do, we will leave our bones on the 
ground, that our Great Father may see where his Da 
kota children died. We are very poor. We have 
sold our hunting-grounds and the graves of our fa 
thers. We have sold our own graves. We have no 
place to bury our dead, and you will not pay us the 
money for our lands." 

The council was broken up, and Eed Iron was sent 
to the guard-house, where he was kept till next day. 
Between thirty and forty of the braves of Eed Iron s 
band were present during this arrangement before the 
governor. When he was led away they departed in 
sullen silence, headed by Lean Bear, to a spot a quar- 


ter of a mile from the council-house, when they utter 
ed a succession of yells, the gathering signal of the 
Dakota. Ere the echoes died away, Indians were hur 
rying from their tepees toward them prepared for bat 
tle. They proceeded to an eminence near the camp 
where mouldered the bones of many warriors. It was 
the memorable battle-ground where their ancestors 
had fought, in a Waterloo conflict, the warlike Sacs 
and Foxes, thereby preserving their lands and nation 

Upon this field stood two hundred resolute warriors 
ready to do battle for their hereditary chief. Lean 
Bear, the principal brave of Ked Iron s band, was 
a large, resolute man, about thirty -five years of age, 
and had great influence in his nation. The Dakotas 
gathered close to hear what he had to communicate. 
Throwing his blanket from his shoulders, he grasped 
his scalping-knife, and, brandishing it in his right hand, 
he recounted to his comrades the warlike deeds of 
their imprisoned chief, Eed Iron (Maza-sha), to which 
they all responded " Ho, ho" many times, and in their 
most earnest tones. He then addressed them in a war- 
talk as follows : 

" Dakotas, the big men are here ; they have got 
Maza-sha in a pen like a wolf. They mean to kill him 
for not letting the big men cheat us out of our lands 
and the money our Great Father sent us." 

"Ho, ho" frequently repeated the auditors. The 
orator continued : 

" Dakotas, must we starve like buffaloes in the 
snow? Shall we let our blood freeze like the little 
streams? Or shall we make the snow red with the 
blood of the white braves?" 


" Ho, ho," repeated by almost every voice with sav 
age ferocity, and the war-whoop was yelled by the 
whole band. 

"Dakotas, the blood of your fathers talk to you 
from the graves where, we stand. Their spirits come 
up into your arms and make you strong. I am glad 
of it. To-night the blood of the white man shall run 
like water in the rain, and Maza-sha shall be with his 
people. [ Ho, ho. ] 

"Dakotas, when the moon goes down behind the 
hills, be ready [ Ho ], and I will lead you against the 
Long Knives and the big men who have come to cheat 
us, and take away our lands, and put us in a pen for 
not helping them to rob our women and children. 

"Dakotas, be not afraid; we have manv more braves 
than the whites. When the moon goes down, be ready, 
and I will lead you to their tepees." [" Ho, ho."] 

The above talk was obtained from an educated half- 
breed, who was present during the scene described. 

By the influence of the half-breeds and white men 
opposed to the payment, Lean Bear was induced to 
abandon his meditated attack. Other Indians were 
also deprived of their chieftainship. It was doubtful 
for a long time whether they would receive annuities 
and abandon the lands: and this was accomplished 
only through their distress, for many had come hund 
reds of miles, and were starving in the dead of winter; 
by the release of those imprisoned for making war 
upon the Chippeways; and by means of large pres 
ents, and the creation of chiefs to act in the place of 
those who had been deposed. 

Even the chiefs did not reap the benefits they ex 
pected. $2900 were paid to the chiefs of the Lower 


Indians, and placed before them on a table ; and in 
two instances at least, those of Wabashaw and Wah- 
koo-ta, it was picked up from the table by a half- 
breed and given to a white man, and that was the last 
they ever saw of it. Little Crow afterward testified, 
on the investigation of the charges against Governor 
Ramsey in reference to the treaties,* that one of the 
traders promised that if he would sign a receipt for 
the moneys that were paid the traders he should have 
seventy horses, and double-barreled guns and pistols 
for many of his band, but that he never received 

Over 55,000 of the moneys paid under this treaty 
for debts of the Indians went to one Hugh Tyler, a 
stranger in the country, for getting the treaties through 
the Senate, and for " necessary disbursements" in secur 
ing the assent of the chiefs. 

In 1857, a trader, pretending that he was getting 
them to sign a power of attorney to get back the mon 
ey which had gone to the traders under the treaty of 
1851 and 1852, obtained their signatures to vouchers, 
by which he swindled them out of $12,000. Shortly 
afterward, this trader secured the payment of $4500 
for goods which he claimed (falsely, it is said) to have 
been stolen. About the same time, a man in Sioux 
City was allowed a claim of $5000 for horses which 
he also alleged to have been stolen. 

In 1858 the chiefs were taken to Washington, and 
agreed to the treaties before referred to for the ces 
sion of all their reservation north of the Minnesota 

* The Senate decided unanimously that, whatever might have been 
done by traders and others, Governor Ramsey s conduct was not only 
free from blame, but highly commendable. 


Kiver, under which, as ratified by the Senate, they 
were to have $166,000 ; but of this amount they nev 
er received a penny until four years afterward, when 
$15,000 in goods were sent to the Lower Sioux, and 
these were deducted out of what was due them under 
former treaties. 

The Indians, discovering the fraud, refused to re 
ceive them for several weeks, and only consented to 
take them after the government had agreed to rectify 
the matter. Most of the large amount due under 
these treaties went into the pockets of traders, govern 
ment officials, and other swindlers. 

The Indians were grievously disappointed with 
their bargains, and from that time the control of af 
fairs passed from the chiefs, who it was believed had 
been bribed, to the young men. They had now near 
ly disposed of all their land, and received scarcely any 
thing for it. They were 6200 in number, and their 
annuities, when paid in full, were hardly fifteen dol 
lars apiece. 

Their sufferings from hunger were often severe, es 
pecially during the winter and spring previous to the 
massacre. This was owing to the lightness of the 
crops, for the cut- worms destroyed all the corn of the 
Sissetons, and greatly injured that of the other tribes; 
and also to an unprecedented fall of snow late in the 
season, which delayed the spring hunts. The Sisse 
tons of Lac Traverse subsisted only by eating all their 
horses and dogs, and at least 1500 of the old men, 
women, and children had to be supported at an extra 
expense to the government, and this was so very par 
simoniously done that some died from starvation. 

Then the wild Indians were very much incensed at 


the abandonment by the Farmer Indians of their an 
cient customs, their assumption of the white dress, and 
adhesion to the Christian religion. They styled them 
opprobriously " whitewashed Indians" and " Dutch 
men," whom they designated as "ea seicha" (the bad 
language). These "Farmer" Indians did very little 
work, had their lands plowed for them by the whites, 
and were much better supplied with food and clothing 
than the others, and the extra expense was deducted 
out of the common fund. This the latter thought 
very unjust, especially as they engaged themselves in 
hunting, and did much more than the others toward 
earning their living. Every favor that was granted 
the "Farmers" they looked upon with jealous eyes, and 
accused the agent and the missionaries with gross in 
justice in making any distinction between them. This 
feeling was fanned by the medicine or wakan (super 
natural) men. These combine in their individual per 
sons the offices of priest, prophet, and physician.* 
They are invested with power to do good and evil. 
They can inflict diseases and heal them, and discover 
things which are hid from the eyes of others. They 
can tell the locality of enemies, and predict the result 
of battles. From the medicine-man the warrior re 
ceives the spear and tomahawk, carefully constructed 
after the model furnished from the armory of the 
gods, pointed after divine prescription, and charged 
with spirit and power ; and by the medicine-men in a 
particular way must he be painted, so as to protect his 
body from wounds, and make him terrible to his foes. 
As a doctor, the medicine-man cures diseases by music 
or horrid chants, or by sucking them from the body, 

* Rev. Mr. Pond. 


and squirting them into a bowl of water to prevent 
their return. Their opposition to a system which was 
death to their profession was strenuous ; and as their 
power over Indians was almost unlimited, the discon 
tent which they fomented was great. 

The dissatisfaction thus engendered was fearfully 
augmented by the failure of the government to make 
the annual payment, which had before taken place in 
June, and by the traders refusing them credit at a 
time when they needed it the most. They were in 
formed by the traders, as a reason for their not trust 
ing them, that it was doubtful, on account of the diffi 
culties the government had to encounter to sustain it 
self, whether they would receive more than a half pay 
ment during that year, and that that would probably 
be the last. 

Just before the massacre ook place we had met 
with great reverses in Virginia, and half-breeds and 
others who could read* kept telling them all kinds of 
exaggerated stories about the war: some that the 
"niggers" had taken, or were about to take Washing 
ton ; that the Great Father and the agent were friends 
to these "niggers;" that the Father was "whipped 
out;" that the Indians would get no more money; 
that the " niggers" would take it, or that it would be 
used up for the war. 

They were fully aware of the magnitude of the con 
test. Little Crow often said to the agent, " When I 
arose this morning, and looked toward the south, it 
seemed to me that I could see the smoke of the big gun, 
and hear the war-whoop of the contending braves." 
The Indians who hunted toward the Big Woods, and 

* Agent Galbraith s Report. 


those who attended the payment from Faribault, said, 
as they passed along, they saw nothing but old men, 
women, and children, and that all that were fit to be 
soldiers had gone to the wars. This, together with 
the enlistment of half-breeds and employes of the gov 
ernment upon the reservation, strengthened the idea 
that the country had nearly exhausted its fighting ma 
terial, and was going to ruin, and they would receive 
nothing more. 

The Indians, having no diversion during the even 
ing, naturally gather together around their fires and 
discuss subjects of interest, and among these subjects 
the action of the government and of the traders are 
freely canvassed, and the effect was to amplify that 
which was already bad enough. "With the conviction 
of the weakness of the whites, the possibilities of a 
successful onslaught upon them were frequently dis 

These tribes were well armed with double-barreled 
shot-guns, and could get plenty of powder and lead, 
and could call into the field 1300 warriors. The Yank- 
tons, the Yanktonais, and the Tetawn Sioux, who would 
naturally sympathize with them on account of their 
relationship, and some of whom had recently been at 
war with the whites, could muster 4000 more. 

The "Winnebagoes, their near neighbors, were their 
frequent visitors, and most potent in mischief-making, 
and they promised their assistance in case a difficulty 
arose. The Chippeways were as dissatisfied as the 
Sioux from similar causes. Mysterious messages pass 
ed from tribe to tribe of that nation during the sum 
mer, and it was asserted that Little Crow correspond 
ed with their great chief, Hole-in-the-day, in regard to 


their mutual grievances. These could furnish 4000 
men, and, with such a force, it was believed they could 
regain their ancient possessions, if they made the at 

Hopes of assistance from the English were also en 
tertained. They recollected that they had in former 
days been their allies and anxious for their trade, and 
that they hated the Americans, and that, on account 
of the Trent affair, a war would probably take place. 
Medals and flags presented by the British were still in 
existence among them, and some of the old men said 
that during the war of 1812 they had taken a cannon 
from one of oar posts and presented it to the English ; 
that they called it the "Little Dakota," and promised, 
if the Sioux were ever in trouble and wanted help, 
they would bring this cannon to them, with men to 
work it. 

They despised our people, and believed they could 
not successfully contend with Indians, and instanced 
the Black Hawk War, on which occasion, they said, 
to be successful, we were compelled to ask their as 

The escape of Inkpaduta, with the loss of only one 
of his own men, who foolishly returned to Yellow 
Medicine, increased this feeling, and they boasted that 
it was not a white man, but an Indian, who killed this 
one. Little Crow openly said that if troubles should 
arise, Minnesota would be compelled to call on her sis 
ter states for assistance. 

In June a number of chiefs and head men of the 
Sissetons and Wahpetons visited the Upper Agency, 
and inquired about the payment, whether they were 
going to get any money, saying that they had been 


told that they would not. When the agent informed 
them that it would take place, although he could not 
say when, or whether it would be a full payment, and 
that he would send them word when the money ar 
rived, they returned to their homes ; but on the 14th 
of July all came down again, to the number of 5000, 
and camped. They said they were afraid they would 
not get their money, and that they had been again told 
so by the whites. Here they remained for some time, 
all pinched for food, and several dying from starva 
tion. They dug up roots to appease their hunger, and 
when corn was turned out to them, like animals, they 
devoured it uncooked. 

With these Indians came a number of families of 
the Yanktonais, living near Big Stone Lake. This 
tribe claimed, and rightfully, an interest in the lands 
which the annuity Indians had solc^, but none of them 
ever received any pay except those belonging to the 
Wanata s band, and this was unauthorized. Wanata 
was half Sisseton and Yanktonais, and his band was 
composed of Indians from both tribes. These Yankto 
nais were told that they should receive nothing in the 
future. When they became satisfied of this, they per 
suaded the other Indians, on the 4th of August, to 
break into the government warehouse, and take away 
the provisions there. This was done in the most bois 
terous manner, in the presence of one hundred soldiers 
with two twelve-pounder howitzers. The American 
flag was cut down, and the Indians stood around with 
their guns loaded, cocked, and leveled. Finally a coun 
cil was held with them, and by the issuance of a large 
quantity of provisions they were induced to return to 
their homes. 


On the Lower Eeservation the excitement was like 
wise intense for a month before the outbreak. From 
longer intercourse with the whites they were more 
corrupt and disposed to mischief than the others, and 
more idle, because they had not, like them, buffalo to 

About the first of July they formed the " Soldiers 
Lodge." This is a secret organization of the young- 
men to direct the action of the tribe when any thing 
of moment is to be undertaken. In this it was de 
termined that they would get all the credit possible, 
and when their annuities arrived, not permit the trad 
ers to receive them ; and if they insisted, rob the 
stores, drive their owners from the reservation, or take 
their lives, as might seem expedient. The chiefs did 
not dare express dissent to this plan, for they were ac 
cused by the young Indians with bribery to the inter 
ests of the whites. The old chief Wabashaw even 
went so far as to say in council that he should not 
oppose this action, as the traders and government had 
cheated them long enough, and as the whites twenty 
years before had killed four of his relatives, and pitch 
ed them over the bluff near St. Paul. 

The traders knew from the organization of the 
lodge that it boded no good for a collection of their 
demands, and when an Indian would ask for credit 
they would retort, " Go to the Soldiers Lodge and get 
credit," and the Indian would angrily reply, " Yes, if 
I was your kept squaw I could get all the credit I 
wanted ; but as I am a man, I can not." 

They supposed that three certain Indians had dis 
closed the secrets of the lodge to the traders. They 
started after one who was riding on horseback; he 


jumped off and ran into the woods. Then those who 
had guns shot a hundred balls into the horse, and the 
others stabbed him with their knives. The other two 
they caught in the street, and cut every piece of 
clothes from their backs before all the people. 

On another occasion they appeared in large num 
bers before Myrick s store, and one made a speech, 
saying, " You have told us that you will give us no 
more credit, and that we might starve this winter, or 
eat hay or dirt. Now, since you will not give us cred 
it, when you want wood or water don t get it on our 
reservation." To this Myrick replied, " Ho ! all right! 
When you are cold this winter, and want to warm 
yourselves by my stove, I will put you out of doors." 
Then they made the same speech to the other traders, 
and received about the same reply. 

Some of the more violent were ready for a general 
war. Jack Frazier, the celebrated friendly half-breed, 
heard one of them say, months before, that blood 
would be shed at the payment ; and Indian members 
of Mr. Hindman s church at the agency told him fre 
quently that the Sioux were " wo-hi-ti-ka," i. e., furi 
ous for a fight. Other half-breeds said that if war 
took place with England, which was then imminent 
on account of the Trent affair, there would be a war 
along the whole frontier. 

Shortly after the organization of the Soldiers Lodge, 
150 of its members took an interpreter living off of 
the reservation, and who was not in the interest of the 
traders, and went to Fort Eidgely, where they coun- 
ciled with Captain Marsh, the commander of the post. 
They asked him, if they refused to pay their traders 
at payment, if he would assist the traders, and he as- 



sured them that he would not. It was usual to have 
a company of soldiers at payment, and they endeav 
ored to dissuade Marsh from sending any, as they said 
they had their own soldiers, who would see that every 
thing was conducted orderly. They visited him sev 
eral times afterward on a like errand. 

The night before the outbreak a large council was 
held at Kice Creek, fifteen miles above the agency, at 
which a number of Winnebagoes were present ; and 
here it was determined that on the next day they 
would go down to the Lower Agency, camp there that 
night, then go to Fort Kidgely, and to St. Paul if nec 
essary, to urge the making of the payment, and if 
they did not succeed more violent measures should 
be adopted. 

Thus, on the 17th day of August, 1862, we find the 
instinctive hatred of this savage and ferocious people, 
who are able to bring into the field 1300 well-armed 
warriors, the most expert and daring skirmishers in 
the world, fanned to a burning heat by many years of 
actual and of fancied wrong, and intensified by fears 
of hunger and of cold. We find this feeling belliger 
ent, and manifesting itself in acts through the possi 
bilities of success. We see the authority of the chiefs 
and older men set aside, and the energetic and turbu 
lent spirit of youth assuming the direction of affairs. 
We see violence determined upon if a certain contin 
gency should happen, and the more violent declaring 
for a general war. We find on the reservation the 
stores of the hated traders filled with goods which 
they have long sought to obtain, and within easy ac 
cess the unarmed people upon whom rage and mania 
for the "feather" may wreak itself in slaughter. 


"What happens among a civilized people when one 
class oppresses another of the same color and nation ? 
Why, the archangel of revolution unsheathes his flam 
ing sword. What shall happen now when the wrong 
ed are fiendish and cruel by nature, and the hated ones 
are of another race and within their power? What 
shall happen when, besides, despair stares them in the 
face, and the gaunt wolf starvation waits for them with 
open jaws? The agent, who left the reservation with 
many of its young men two days before, heard not the 
question, though philosophy uttered it in thunder tones 
"with most miraculous organ." Much less did the 
peaceful people, who were quietly pursuing their toils, 
and gathering into their garners for the coming win 
ter the summer s bounteous harvest. 

All seemed alike to be ignorant of the existence of 
the magazine whose explosion awaited but the spark 
ignorant of the dark and lowering storm which 
threatened to burst with malign fury over their happy 




ON the 10th of August, a party of twenty Indians 
from the Lower Reservation went to the Big Woods,* 
near Forest City, for the purpose of hunting deer and 
obtaining a wagon which the chief Mak-pe-yah-we- 
tah, one of their number, had left the previous autumn 
with Captain Whitcomb as security for the purchase- 
money of a sleigh. This chief, and. four others of the 
party, separated from their companions and went to 
Whitcomb s. The remaining fifteen lingered in the 
neighborhood of Acton. Four of these were Upper 
Indians by birth, but had intermarried with the M de- 
wakantons, and were living with Shakopee s band at 
the mouth of Rice Creek. This band was the worst 
disposed upon the reservation, and the most violent in 
its complaints against the whites. The others resided 
around the Lower Agency. 

On Sunday, the 17th of August, when within about 
six miles of Acton, one of the latter picked up some 
hen s eggs on the prairie, and proposed to eat them. 
" No," said one of the four, " they are the eggs of a 
tame fowl ; they are the property of a white man. 
You must not touch them." "Nonsense," replied 

* A large and remarkable forest, commencing about eighty miles 
above the Falls of St. Anthony, and extending south at a right angle 
across the Minnesota River to the branches of the Mankato, or Blue 
Earth River. 


the first speaker ; " they are worth nothing, and we 
are hungry, and might as well eat them." " No," still 
insisted the other ; " they are not ours. It is wrong 
to take them, and we will get into trouble with the 
whites if we do so." " Oh!" angrily retorted the first, 
"you are putting on very virtuous airs. You Kice 
Creek Indians talk a great deal against the whites, 
and yet you dare not take a few paltry eggs. I am 
not afraid of the miserable fools." * Don t abuse the 
white man," said the other; "he is absent. Abuse 
me. I am here, and am not frightened at your loud 
talk." "To the devil with you and the eggs," ex 
claimed the first, and he dashed them to the ground. 
" That s a very bold act," said the other, sneeringly, 
" to destroy a few hen s eggs ! You are a coward." 

The dispute waxed hotter and hotter as they pro 
ceeded on their way. Presently they saw an ox, and 
the one who had broken the eggs cried out, " I am a 
coward, am I ? I am so brave, and so little afraid of 
the whites as to dare to kill one of their oxen. There !" 
and he drew up his gun and shot the ox. " You call 
that brave too, do you ?" said his former disputant ; 
"I call it the act of a coward. You break eggs and 
kill an ox. You are a woman. I am a brave man, 
and know what is brave. I have been on war parties 
against Chippeways, and have taken scalps." 

And so the quarrel progressed in bitterness, and the 
whole party became embroiled in it, the four Kice 
Creek Indians being arrayed in opposition to the oth 
ers, and each side accusing the other of cowardice. 
The difficulty bid fair to result in blows, when the 
larger number said, "Since we can t agree we will 
take different trails, and you will find out whether we 


are brave or not, for we are going to kill a white man." 
And so they left the four to themselves. 

Some little time afterward the four heard the others 
firing off their guns, and erroneously supposed they 
were killing whites, as they had threatened, and two 
insisted that they must do the same, or they would be 
charged with being cowards. The other two reasoned 
against it, and so debating they continued on their 
way to Acton. 

The first house they came to was untenanted. The 
next was that of Mr. Kobinson Jones, whom they 
found at home with his wife and a young lady, a Miss 
Clara D. Wilson. This house they reached about 
eleven o clock in the morning. Here they got into a 
contention with Jones about his refusal to give them 
liquor, and about the failure of one of them to return 
a gun which he had borrowed of Jones the previous 
winter, in consequence of which Jones compelled them 
to leave the house. 

From there they went to Mr. Howard Baker s, a 
quarter of a mile distant, where they found Mr. Baker, 
and a Mr. "Webster and his wife. Baker was a son of 
Mrs. Jones by a former husband. Webster and his 
wife were emigrants from Michigan, and had just ar 
rived that day. They intended going to a different 
part of the country, but had on the road fallen in with 
Baker, and were by him induced to come to Acton. 

When the Indians came to Baker s they asked for 
water, which was given them. They then wanted to 
bacco, and Mr. Webster handed them some tobacco, 
and they filled their pipes and sat down and smoked. 
They acted perfectly friendly until Jones came over 
with his wife and began talking with them. Jones 


again accused the Indian of having taken his gun to 
shoot deer, and having never returned it, and again 
the Indian denied it. Mrs. Baker asked Mrs. Jones if 
she had given them any whisky, and she said ."No, 
we don t keep whisky for such black devils as they." 
The Indians appeared to understand what she was 
saying, for they became very savage in their appear 
ance, and Mrs. Webster begged Mrs. Jones to desist. 

The Indians, irritated by Jones, had now determ 
ined on murder. Presently Jones traded Mr. Baker s 
double-barreled gun with one of the Indians for his, 
and the Indians proposed that they should go out and 
shoot at a mark for the purpose of having the white 
men discharge their guns. Jones accepted the banter, 
saying "that he wasn t afraid to shoot against any 
damned Kedskin that ever lived," and they went out 
and fired at a mark. Webster had a gun, but did not 
go out with the party, and one of the Indians said 
the lock of his own gun was defective, and persuaded 
Webster to take the lock off, and to loan him his own. 
After they had discharged their pieces they carefully 
loaded them again, which Jones and Baker omitted to 

Then one of the Indians started in the direction of 
Forest City for the purpose of ascertaining if there 
were any whites near. On his return the four coun 
seled together, and acted as if they were going away, 
when they suddenly turned and fired, the shots taking 
effect upon Jones and his wife, and Baker and Web 
ster. Jones started for the woods, but a second shot 
brought him to the ground. The others were mortal 
ly wounded at the first fire. Mrs. Baker and Mrs. 
Jones were in the house. Mr. Webster was hit while 


going toward his covered wagon to bring some things 
which his wife was handing him from it. The Indians 
went immediately to Jones s house, broke it open, shot 
Miss Wilson, and departed. Mrs. Baker, who had a 
child in her arms, in her fright fell down cellar, and 
was not noticed ; nor was Mrs. Webster, who was in 
the covered wagon. 

When the Indians left, Mrs. Baker came up from 
the cellar, and she and Mrs. Webster put pillows un 
der the heads of the wounded. Jones was a man of 
powerful and athletic frame, six feet and an inch in 
height, straight as an arrow, with dark complexion, 
jet black hair and whiskers, and fiery eye the beau 
ideal of a cavalry officer, as Whitcomb often told him. 
His fine physique offered great resistance to death. 
So terrible were his sufferings that he crammed hand- 
fuls of dirt into his mouth in his agony, and dug great 
holes with his heels in the hard ground. He ordered 
his wife to fly and save her child, but she insisted on 
remaining until he died, and then went into the woods. 

To add to the terrors of these helpless women in 
this lonely place, while they were listening to the 
groans of their husbands a white man passed along, 
and on his assistance being requested, looked at the 
bodies and laughed, and said that they now only had 
" the nose-bleed," and that the Indians would soon 
come again and finish them. 

When the wounded were dead, Mrs. Baker and Mrs. 
Webster hastened to the house of a Norwegian a few 
miles distant, and, half dead with fright, narrated what 
had occurred. There was no man at home, and a boy 
was dispatched to give the alarm at Ripley, twelve 
miles distant, where a meeting was then being held to 


raise volunteers for the war. So incredulous were the 
people of any hostility on the part of the Indians, that 
they did not credit what the boy said for some little 
time, but finally they sent a messenger with the news 
to Forest City, twelve miles distant, where Captain 
Whitcomb had a number of recruits ; and twelve or 
fifteen horsemen rode to Acton, which they reached 
at dusk. They placed a wagon-box over Jones, but 
did not disturb the bodies until next morning, after an 
inquest was held. 

While the inquest was progressing, the eleven In 
dians before referred to, not knowing what their com 
panions had done, appeared on horseback, and some 
of the whites who were mounted gave chase. They 
crossed a slough, and all the whites checked their 
horses at the edge except a daring fellow from Forest 
City, who followed over and fired. One of the Indians 
dismounted and returned the fire, and then mounted 
his horse again and fled with the others. 

There were seventy -five persons at the inquest. 
The surrounding country was thrown at once into the 
greatest alarm. The danger to be apprehended from 
the dissatisfied condition of the Indians upon the res 
ervation was now fully appreciated. A total uncer 
tainty as to their designs and their numbers prevailed. 

Mak-pe-yah-we-tah and his four companions had 
been to Captain Whitcomb s on Saturday and Sunday, 
and had demanded the delivery of the former s wagon 
without paying the amount for which it had been 
pledged, and, on Whitcomb s refusal to deliver it, had 
threatened to cut the wagon to pieces, and had flour 
ished their axes over his head and these still re 
mained in the neighborhood. 



Then thirteen had been at a house five miles from 
Acton on Sunday and cleaned their guns and ground 
their knives ; and fourteen of Little Crow s band were 
in the adjoining county of Monongalea. Messengers 
were dispatched at once to the governor at Saint Paul 
for assistance. 

The four Indians who committed the murders im 
mediately proceeded to the house of a Mr. Eckland, 
near Lake Elizabeth, and stole two horses, one of them 
engaging the owner in conversation while it was done, 
and then mounting, two on each horse, rode at a rapid 
pace to Shakopee s village, at the mouth of Kice Creek, 
which they reached before daylight, and stated what 
had occurred. 




"WHEN the relatives of the murderers heard their 
story, they determined at once to commence the mas 
sacre, knowing that, unless they did so, the guilty par 
ties would be caught and delivered up to justice. 

The more cautious of the band were opposed to 
this; but it was finally understood that, as it was 
agreed in the council of the previous evening to camp 
at the agency that night on their way to Fort Ridge- 
ly and Saint Paul, they would start for there as soon 
as it was light, and consult with Crow and the other 
Indians about the best course to pursue. 

So down they came in the early morning, their 
numbers increasing rapidly with accessions from the 
different villages, and when they reached Crow s house, 
two miles above the agency, they mustered one hund 
red and fifty men,, most of them armed and well mount 
ed, and all shouting and mad with enthusiasm, and 
anxious and eager for the fray. 

Crow had not yet arisen. He was awakened by 
their noise, and sat up with his blanket around him ; 
and they told him what had transpired, and asked 
what they had better do. The exigency of the occa 
sion was startling; and so fully alive was he to the 
perils to which a decision either way would expose 
him, that, as he afterward stated, the perspiration came 




out in great beads upon his forehead. It was evident 
that the minds of those before him were made up, and 
that they would be joined by all the young men of 
the tribes. Suspicion of bribery by the whites had 
already attached to him and defeated his election for 
speakership, and his influence was fast waning. This 
nettled his scheming, ambitious spirit, and he knew 
that if he fell in with this movement his eloquence 
and superior intellect would secure him the leadership 
of the nation. 

On the other hand, in his various trips to Washing 
ton, he had acquired a knowledge of the immense 
forces of the whites and the danger of a hostile col 
lision with them. But the fear of imminent personal 


danger which his refusal might then incite the dream 
of possible success the ties and affinities of kindred 
the mad excitement of the hour, decided him, and 
he said, " Trouble with the whites is inevitable sooner 
or later. It may as well take place now as at any 
other time. I am with you. Let us go to the agency, 
and kill the traders and take their goods." 

Then sending the news down by swift messengers 
to the bands of Wabashaw, Waconta, and Red Legs, 
the Indians hastened with Crow to the agency, break 
ing up, as they entered the village, into small parties, 
and surrounding the different houses and stores. It 
was agreed that the attack upon the houses and stores 
should be as nearly simultaneous as possible, and that 
upon the discharge of the first gun the massacre 
should commence. 

Nothing save the presence of an overawing force of 
armed men could now have restrained their purpose. 
Such there was not. On the contrary, as before stated, 
many of the men at the agency were on the way to 
Fort Snelling to be mustered into one of the new reg 
iments for the Southern war, and those who were left 
were unprepared for defense and unsuspicious of dan 
ger. The doom of the people was sealed ; the signal 
gun sounded, and "suddenly, as from the woods and 
the fields suddenly, as from the chambers of the air 
opening in revelations suddenly, as from the ground 
yawning at their feet, leaped upon them, with the 
flashings of cataracts, Death, the crowned phantom, 
with all the equipage of his terrors, and the tragic 
roar of his voice." 

The first shot was fired at Myrick s store, in the up 
per part of the town, between six and seven o clock 


in the morning. James Lynde was the first victim. 
He was standing in the door and saw them coming. 
One of the murderers cried out just before he shot, 
" Now I will kill the dog who wouldn t give me cred 
it." Mr. Lynde was a clerk in the store, but had been 
a member of the State Senate, and was possessed of 
fine literary attainments. Then they killed in the 
same store, almost immediately, Divall, a clerk, and 
Fritz, the cook. 

Young My rick was up stairs, and when the first 
gun was fired he concealed himself under a dry -goods 
box. The Indians, fearful that he would shoot at 
them, dared not ascend the stairs, and after some little 
time hit upon a plan of routing him by proposing to 
burn the building. When My rick heard this he clam 
bered up through the scuttle, slipped down the light 
ning-rod to the roof of a low addition used as a ware 
house, and jumped to the ground, and ran toward the 
brush covering the steep bank of the Minnesota Eiv- 
er, which was near, and promised possible safety. As 
he ran, some Winnebagoes discharged their arrows 
at him without effect ; but just as he reached the thick 
et a Sioux shot him with his gun and brought him to 
the ground, where he was found days afterward with 
a scythe and many arrows sticking in his body. 

At Forbes s store they killed Jo. Belland and An- 
toine Young ; at Koberts s store, Brusson ; and at La 
Batte s, old La Batte and his clerk. The superintend 
ent of farms was shot, and the workman who was dig 
ging the well for a brick-yard for his destroyers ben 
efit. Many others perished at the same time. At 
Forbes s store they wounded George Spencer in the 
arms and side, but he was saved by an Indian friend. 



Bourat, a clerk, ran up stairs. Presently he heard one 
say, " Let us go up and kill him, and get him out of 
the way," and he determined to make a rush for his 
life. He dashed down the stairs, and succeeded in 
getting about two hundred yards from the store, when 
he received a heavy charge of duck-shot in the side, 
which brought him down. Another shot was fired, 
which took effect in his left leg. Then the Indians 
came up, stripped him of his clothing and shoes,. and 
piled some logs over him to prevent his escape, prom 
ising to come back soon and cut him up. He suc 
ceeded in extricating himself from the logs and mak 
ing his escape after the most excruciating torture. 

The Indians being much engaged in plundering the 
stores, many escaped uninjured. Among these was 
the Kev.Mr.Hindman, who lived in the lower part of 
the town. He thus stated to the writer his experience 
on that eventful morning : 

"I arose early, expecting to go to Faribault; had 
just finished breakfast, and was sitting outside smok 
ing a pipe and talking with a mason about a job which 
he had just finished upon the new church which I was 
building. Presently I saw a number of Indians pass 
ing down, nearly naked and armed with guns. The 
mason exclaimed, I guess they are going to have a 
dance. No, said Dr. Humphreys s son, who was 
standing near us, they have guns, and are not going 
to dance. Then I noticed that, instead of going by, 
they commenced sitting down on the steps of various 

" About this time I heard the guns in the upper 
town. A man by the name of W hippie said he guess 
ed the Chippeways had come over, and they were hav- 


ing a battle. He then crossed the road to "his board 
ing-house. I soon noticed that the people at the board 
ing-house who could see the upper stores were run 
ning down the bluff. Then four Indians came down 
the street. One of them left the others, and went into 
the Indian farmer Prescott s house, and came imme 
diately out. Frank Kobertson, a young clerk in the 
employ of the government, followed him out, looking 
very pale. I asked him what was the matter. He 
said he didn t know, but that the Indian told them all 
to stay in the house. He told me he thought there 
was going to be trouble, and started for Beaver Creek, 
a few miles above, where his mother lived. 

" Soon White Dog, formerly president of the Farm 
er Indians, ran past very much frightened. I asked 
him what the matter was, and he said that there was 
awful work, and that he was going to see Wabashaw 
about it. Then Crow, in company with another In 
dian, went by the gate, and I asked Crow what was 
the matter. He was usually very polite, but now he 
made no answer, and, regarding me with a savage look, 
went on toward the stable, the next building below. 

" Just before Wagner ran by, and I asked him also 
what the trouble was. He said the Indians were go 
ing to the stable to steal horses, and that he was going 
there to stop them. I told him that he had better not, 
as I was afraid there was trouble. He paid no atten 
tion to what I said. The next I saw was the Indians 
leading away the horses, and Wagner, John Lamb, and 
another person trying to prevent them. By this time 
Crow had reached them, and I heard him say to the 
Indians, What are you doing ? Why don t you shoot 
these men ? What are you waiting for ? Immediate- 


ly the Indians fired, wounding Wagner, who escaped 
across the river to die, and killing Lamb and the oth 
er man. 

"Then I found Mrs. West, and we started for the 
ferry. After we got about half way she ran into a 
house, and I lost sight of her. 

" Just as I got to Dickerson s house I came across a 
German who was wounded. I managed to get him 
down the hill and put him into a skiff, and we passed 
safely over, and arrived at Fort Kidgely about three 
o clock. The people were crossing the ferry rapidly, 
and flying in every direction." The bands of Wa- 
bashaw and of the other chiefs below the agency soon 
came up and joined in the plundering and murdering. 
When the work was completed at the agency, the sav 
ages rapidly betook themselves to the surrounding 
country. The ferryman, Mauley, who resolutely fer 
ried across the river at the agency all who desired to 
cross, was killed on the other side just as he had pass 
ed the last man over. He was disemboweled; his 
head, hands, and feet cut off, and thrust into the cavi 
ty. Obscure Frenchman though he was, the blood of 
no nobler hero dyed the battle-fields of Thermopylae 
or Marathon. William Taylor, a colored man, fly 
ing from the agency, was also shot on the opposite 
side of the river, two miles below. A few days be 
fore he had dressed himself in the Indian fashion, and 
had his daguerreotype taken, and given it to Crow, 
and if he had been present Taylor would probably 
not have been killed. He was a barber, and an old 
resident of St. Paul a fat, jolly, good-natured, kindly 
fellow, who never did an ungentlemanly act. With 
his tonsorial accomplishments he was possessed of fine 


musical taste, and his twanging violin was always in 
demand at the balls and parties of the city. 

Dr. Humphreys, the physician to the Lower In 
dians, fled with his wife and three children, two boys 
and a girl, the eldest aged twelve years, and reached 
the house of one Magner, two miles from the river. 
The doctor sent one of the boys down a little hill to 
bring some water, as they were very thirsty. While 
the child was gone the Indians killed his father, and 
burned his mother and the other two children in the 
house. Hearing the report of the fatal gun, and see 
ing the Indians, the child remained concealed until 
they left. When he emerged from his hiding-place 
he went and looked at his father, and found that the 
miscreants had cut his -throat. Then he retired to a 
hiding-place again, and presently some more Indians 
came along and chopped off his father s head with an 
axe. All the buildings at the agency but two were 
committed to the flames. 

Down the river, on each side, below the fort, and 
within six miles of New Ulm, and up the river to 
Yellow Medicine, the massacres that day extended. 
At Beaver Creek, and at the Sacred Heart Creek, 
large numbers perished. Parties gathering together 
for flight with their teams and movables, and par 
tially armed, would be suddenly met by large bands 
of Indians, and, seeing the futility of resistance, would 
give up every thing, thinking that thereby they would 
appease the wrath of their opponents, and be allowed 
to escape, but all in vain. Quick and barbarous de 
struction was their portion. Occasionally some would 
be allowed to indulge in a hope of escape, and to pass 
a little distance on their way, but soon a gunshot 


would bring them to the ground, and death would 
teach them that their foes were only toying with them 
as the cat toys with the mouse. 

The naked forms of the savages, hideous with 
paint, their mad shouts and wild merriment, increased 
the horrors of the victim. Former friendship and 
kindness availed nothing. On the contrary, the In 
dians started off at first to the neighborhood where 
they had camped on their hunting excursions, and 
been hospitably treated by the murdered. Helpless 
ness, innocence, tender age, prayers, tears these were 
not calculated to induce mercy. They served but to 
furnish embellishments for the tale to be told for the 
plaudits of the camp, where narratives of common 
slaughter had become stale, and excess in cruelty re 
ceived the palm. Continually discussing and puz 
zling their minds as to how they should outvie one 
another in the next outrage, by adding some new ele 
ment of atrocity, nothing which devilish ingenuity 
could suggest was omitted. 

A gentleman living near New Ulm with his family 
went to the town without apprehending any danger. 
While he was gone the Indians came and killed two 
of his children before their mother s eyes, and were 
quickly dispatching her infant son, when she seized 
it and fled to her mother s house, a few yards distant. 
They pursued her and shot at her a number of times, 
but without success. They killed her mother, her 
sister, and servant-girl, but she escaped with her in 
fant. When the father returned, he found one of his 
boys, aged twelve years, who had been left for dead, 
still living, and he dragged him from the field. While 
doing so five bullets whizzed about his ears. He 


brought him safely to St. Peter s, though cut and 
bruised in every limb, his face horribly mangled, and 
his skull fractured. An eye-witness of his sufferings 
says, " He was asleep, but occasionally a low, heart- 
piercing moan would escape his lips. At times he 
would attempt to turn over, and then, in the agony 
occasioned by the effort, he would groan most piteous- 
ly. At length he awoke, his lips quivered with pain, 
and the meaningless expression of his eyes added new 
horrors to the dreadful scene, until, sickened to my 
soul, I left the room." 

Another little boy, whom they left for dead, was 
brought into the settlements badly wounded. They 
had driven a knife into his right eye, and it had fallen 
from its socket and decayed upon his cheek. 

A farmer and his two sons were engaged in stack 
ing wheat. Twelve Indians approached unseen to a 
fence, and from behind it shot the three. Then they 
entered the farmer s house and killed two of his young 
children in the presence of their mother, who was ill 
with consumption, and dragged the mother and a 
daughter aged thirteen years miles away to their 
camp. There, in the presence of her dying mother, 
they stripped off her clothes, fastened her upon her 
back to the ground, and one by one violated her per 
son until death came to her relief. 

One Indian went into a house where a woman was 
making bread. Her small child was in the cradle. 
He split the mother s head open with his tomahawk, 
and then placed the babe in the hot oven, where he 
kept it until it was almost dead, when he took it out 
and beat out its brains against the wall. 

Children were nailed living to tables and doors, and 


knives and tomahawks thrown at them until they per 
ished from fright and physical pain. The womb of 
the pregnant mother was ripped open, the palpitating 
infant torn forth, cut into bits, and thrown into the 
face of the dying woman. The hands and heads of 
the victims were cut off, their hearts ripped out, and 
other disgusting mutilations inflicted. Whole families 
were burned alive in their homes. 

Before noon the news of the outbreak reached the 
fort, and Captain Marsh, of the 5th regiment of Min 
nesota Volunteers, started at once for the agency with 
forty-eight men. He was mounted on a mule, and his 
men were in wagons. 

Mr. Hindman, with ten fugitives from the agency, 
met him at two o clock a mile from the fort. Mr. 
Hindman asked him if he was going to the ferry at 
the agency. He said he was, and the former cau 
tioned him against it, telling him if he went there he 
would be sure to get into trouble ; that the Indians 
were killing every body, and that he had better go no 
farther than the bluff opposite the ferry, and there 
collect what women and children he could, and bring 
them into the fort. He replied that he had plenty of 
powder and lead, and enough men to whip all the In 
dians between there and the Pacific Ocean, and that 
he was not only going to the ferry, but across the ferry. 

Hindman told him that it was none of his business, 
but that the Indians outnumbered him three to one, 
and that certain death awaited him. The other fugi 
tives with Hindman coincided in his admonitions ; but 
Marsh, naturally a brave, daring fellow, and experi 
enced in war by his service in a Wisconsin regiment 
during the Virginia campaign, and sharing in the com- 


rnon contempt of Indian valor, thanked them for their 
suggestions and rode on. 

Five miles from the ferry they met John Magner, 
a member of Marsh s company, who had been visiting 
his home near the agency on furlough. It was in his 
house that Dr. Humphre}^s s wife and children were 
burned. He had lain secreted in a cornfield, and had 
witnessed the flames of his house, and had seen many 
of the people slain. Marsh ascertained from him what 
had happened, but, nothing daunted, boldly advanced 
to the ferry. 

On the road they saw many dead bodies. Dr. Hum- 
phreys s little boy, who had remained concealed until 
now, joined them, as also did another fugitive, and ac 
companied them to the ferry. When they reached 
the ferry, which was at sundown, the Indians came to 
the opposite bank, and a conversation ensued between 
them and Marsh, through his interpreter Quinn. 

Marsh told them he was coming over to look into 
things, and ascertain what the trouble was. Some said 
he must not, and that they would shoot any one who 
tried it. White Dog advised him to cross. While 
this parley was going on, many Indians had secretly 
crossed over and surrounded Marsh. It was a long 
distance across the bottom to the bluff. Both banks 
were wooded, and thick with tall grass and bushes. 
On the opposite shore, around the saw-mill, were many 
logs, behind which Indians lay concealed. 

Marsh saw nothing of the Indians on his side of the 
river, and sent Magner a little distance below to where 
lie could get a good view to ascertain the numbers on 
the other side, and sent another man into the water to 
bring in the ferry-boat, which was a few feet from 


shore. Magner soon returned, and told him it was 
certain death to cross. Others sided with Magner, and 
Marsh said he would this time yield his own judgment 
to that of others, and ordered his men who were front 
ing the ferry to an about face. The Indians evident 
ly desired all the soldiers to get upon the boat and 
partly across the river before they fired, as then all 
could be killed. 

As soon as it became manifest that the idea of cross 
ing was abandoned, Little Crow gave the signal to 
White Dog to fire. White Dog passed it to others, 
and from every side, amid hideous yells, burst on the 
terror-stricken whites the storm of bullets. Nearly 
half of their number fell at the first fire, and those 
who were not killed outright perished by the toma 

Quinn, the interpreter, who was standing with his 
band on the corner of the ferry-house, received twenty 
balls in his body, and, at the same time, an Indian 
standing close by shot him with arrows. The sur 
vivors sought safety in flight, discharging, however, 
before they left, several volleys at their enemies, by 
which one was killed and five wounded. 

Captain Marsh was uninjured, although he stood 
close beside Quinn, and had his mule killed under 
him. Gathering nine of his men together, among 
whom was Magner, he succeeded in getting two miles 
down the river, but, discovering that the Indians were 
cutting off his way to the fort, he ordered his men to 
cross the stream at a point where it was supposed to 
be fordable, and bravely led the way himself, holding 
over his head his revolver in one hand, and his sword 
in the other. He was soon beyond his depth, and it 



was perceived that he was drowning. Magner and 
another man went to his assistance, but too late. He 
sank from their sight, and his corpse was found in the 
river miles below some days afterward. He must 
have suddenly been taken with cramp, as he was an 
expert swimmer. 

His nine companions safely made their way into the 
fort. Others also escaped ; among them was Dr. Hum- 
phreys s son. Twenty-four of the number perished. 

Nine Winnebagoes were present, and participated 
in the battle. Little Priest, one of their most distin 
guished chiefs, was seen to fire upon the whites. The 
Indians were highly jubilant over this success. What 
ever of doubt there was before among some as to the 
propriety of embarking in the massacres disappeared, 
and the Lower Indians became a unit upon the ques 
tion. Their dead enemies were lying all around them, 
and their camp was filled with captives. They had 
taken plenty of arms, and powder, and lead, and provi 
sions, and clothing. The "Farmer" Indians and mem 
bers of the Church, fearing, like all other renegades, 
that suspicion of want of zeal in the cause would rest 
upon them, to avoid it became more bloody and brutal 
in their language and conduct than the others. 

During the day three messengers were dispatched 
with the news to the Upper Indians at Yellow Medi 
cine. The first messenger was not believed. When 
his report was confirmed by the second messenger, the 
Indians assembled together in council to the number 
of one hundred or more. Among them were thirty 
of the young Yanktonais. They were divided in senti 
ment as to what action should be taken. Some advised 
the killing of all the whites, and the taking of their 


goods, as they would all be considered by the whites 
as embroiled in the difficulties which had already 
taken place. The others insisted that the whites 
should be sent to the settlement, with their horses 
and what they could carry away. 

Other Day, a civilized Indian, addressed the coun- 


cil, telling them that they might easily kill a few un 
armed whites five, ten, or a hundred but the conse 
quence would be that their whole country would be 
soon filled with soldiers of the United States, and all 
of the Indians would be killed or driven away. " Some 
of you," he said, " say you have horses, and can escape 
to the plains ; but what, I ask you, will become of 
those who have no horses?" 

Their reply was that they would have to suffer for 


what the others had done in any event. Then came 
the other messenger with news of Marsh s disaster, and 
the council broke up in a row, and the Yanktonais, 
Sissetons, and a few of the Wahpetons moved toward 
the houses of the whites for an attack. 

Then Other Day seized his wife, who was a white 
woman, by the arm, took his gun, and went to the 
houses of the whites, who kflew nothing of the assem 
bling of the council, to warn them of their danger, and 
they assembled in the warehouse to the number of 
fifty, with the determination to defend themselves to 
the last extremity. Other Day and four of his rela 
tives stood on the outside of the building all night, to 
watch for and give notice of any attack. "While there, 
squads of Indians hovered around, watching an oppor 
tunity to catch them unawares. At ten o clock they 
went to Grarvie s store, and found him there, as he 
supposed they were only bent upon pillage. They 
fired seven shots at him, two of which took effect. He 
ran up stairs, got his gun, jumped oat of the second 
story window, and made his way into the warehouse. 
Two others were killed on the bottom lands near the 
agency buildings. 

About daybreak they heard a gun go off near a 
warehouse a mile away, followed by others in rapid 
succession, and then a general yell as the Indians 
broke into the building. Then those who were watch 
ing the whites ran for this warehouse, and the whites, 
under the guidance of Other Day, crossed the river 
and made their way to the settlements. The party 
consisted of forty- two women and children, and twen 
ty men. Among the former was the wife and chil 
dren of the agent, Mr. Galbraith. Garvie was left at 


Hutchinson, and died soon after from the effects of his 

On the same Monday night, at nine o clock, the peo 
ple at Mr. Eiggs s place, six miles above the Upper 
Agency, were informed of the danger by friendly In 
dians, and forty-two, including the missionaries, Eiggs 
and Williamson, made their escape. 

Messengers were dispatched by the Indians at once 
to all the Indians to notify them of what was being 
enacted. Fort Eidgely and New Ulm were filled 
with fugitives that night, many bleeding from ghastly 
wounds, and all trembling with affright. Blazing 
houses were to be seen in every direction as the in 
cendiaries plied their hellish work. The frightened 
inmates prepared themselves for battle as well as they 
might, and dispatched messengers for relief to the set 
tlements,, and after Lieutenant Shehan, who had start 
ed on the 16th for Fort Eipley, to accompany Com 
missioner Dole, who was about to make a treaty with 
the Eed Lake Chippeways. The messenger overtook 
Shehan forty miles away that night, and also carried 
the news to St. Peter s and other towns. 




AGENT GALBRAITH, with his company of forty -five 
men, who were known as the "Eenville Rangers," 
were in St. Peter s when the news arrived. That night 
was spent in running bullets, and getting ready for 
the relief of the fort and New Ulm. 

Early in the morning the bells were rung, and the 
alarm generally given. The people assembled be 
tween seven and eight o clock to determine upon a 
course of action. The Renville Rangers had started 
between six and seven o clock for the fort, and it was 
determined to send a detachment to the succor of New 

The meeting adopted a resolution that every man 
who had any character of fire-arms or ammunition 
should produce them, and notify his neighbors to do 
the same, at the Court-house, within the next hour, 
for which time the meeting adjourned. 

At the expiration of the hour the people reassem 
bled, bringing with them every description of fire-arms 
that could be obtained. Then a committee was ap 
pointed who collected lead, powder, and caps, and an 
organization had by the election of the Hon. Charles 
E. Flandreau, associate justice of the Supreme Court, 
as captain, "William B. Dodd as first lieutenant, and 
Mr. Meyer as second lieutenant. Every body busied 
himself in getting wagons, horses, ammunition, blank- 



ets, cooking utensils, and provisions, and by eleven 
o clock sixteen men, mounted and tolerably well 
armed, reported themselves for duty. Ex -Sheriff 
Boardman was placed in charge of this squad, and 
directed to scout toward New Ulm. He started off 
at once. 

Little Crow, with three hundred and twenty warri 
ors, left the agency for the fort during the morning, 
pursuant to an understanding had the previous even 
ing, but on the way dissensions arose, which resulted 
in a division of the force. One hundred and twenty, 
under Little Crow, went to the vicinity of the fort, but 
made no attack that day. While they were concealed 
in the neighborhood, Shehan and Galbraith, with their 


men, made their way into the fort unmolested. Had 
the design of attacking the fort, which was proposed 
by Crow, been carried out, it could easily have been 
taken, as the garrison only numbered about thirty ef 
fective men before the arrival of the re-enforcements. 

The remainder of the party, intent upon plunder, 
scattered themselves through the settlements around 
New Ulm and on the Cotton-Wood. 

At four o clock one hundred of them gathered to 
gether, and made an attack upon the town, burning 
the buildings on the outskirts, and killing several per 
sons in the street. This town contained a population 
of some 1500 souls, principally Germans, and this 
number was- now largely increased by the fugitives. 
It is situate on the Minnesota Eiver, twenty -eight 
miles above St. Peter s. The houses were scattered 
over a long extent of ground, and this rendered the 
place difficult of defense. While the attack was pro 
gressing, Boardman, with his fifteen mounted men, ar 
rived at the ferry, and dashed into the town at full 

The people were in a state of utter frenzy, and there 
was no organization for defense. The interior of the 
town was barricaded, making a large square, surround 
ed by wagons, barrels, and all kinds of trumpery, with 
in which the people were huddled together like a flock 
of frightened sheep. As soon as Boardman s men ar 
rived, they went outside of the barricades, and, by vig 
orous firing, drove the Indians away at dark with a 
loss of several killed and wounded. It is conceded 
that these men saved the town. 

During this attack, Samuel Coffin, from Nicollet 
County, who had gone to New Ulm to inquire about 


the massacre, and the Kev. Charles A. Stein, from Jud- 
son, and Messrs. Buel, Swift,* and Boardman, of St. 
Peter s, were conspicuous for their gallantry. While 
the fight was progressing, the latter volunteered to re 
turn toward St. Peter s and inform Judge Flandreau 
of the situation of affairs. On his way from town 
he was attacked and fired upon by the Indians, but 
succeeded in crossing the ferry and making his way 
into St. Peter s, although he took a different road from 
Flandreau, and missed seeing him. Flandreau left St. 
Peter s at one o clock, with one hundred men from 
that place and Le Sueur, and arrived at the ferry about 
nine that evening. The buildings in the town were 
still blazing. 

They made their way safely into the town, and were 
heartily welcomed by the people. ISTor were they less 
pleased, for they were drenched to the skin and shiv 
ering with cold. Guards were kept out during the 
whole night in expectation of an attack. The next 
day was passed in strengthening the barricades and 
organizing the men generally for defense. Judge 
Flandreau was selected as commander-in-chief, and he 
appointed Captain Dodd provost marshal, and S. A. 
Buell deputy. Dr. Daniels, of St. Peter s, Dr. M Ma- 
han, of Mankato, Drs. Ayer and Mayo, of Le Sueur, 
and the resident German physicians of the town, were 
placed in charge of the sick and wounded. A public 
butcher was also appointed, and foraging and scout 
ing parties selected. A theodolyte was placed on one 
of the principal buildings, by which the country for 
three miles around could be swept, and persons sta 
tioned there to keep a sharp look-out. During the 

* Now Governor of Minnesota. 



day fifty men from Mankato, under Captain Bierbaur, 
arrived, and about the same number from Le Sueur. 

No Indians appearing, the men commenced roam 
ing about the prairie. A mile and a half from town 
they found nine men, some dead and others nearly so 
all horribly mutilated. These were a portion of a 
party of sixteen who had started for their homes at 
Leavenworth, on the Cotton-Wood, and, being beset 
by Indians, endeavored to make their way back dur 
ing the attack on the previous day. Three of the 
party were seated upon a buck -board on a wagon. 
Two were killed. The horses were hit and ran, and 
the wagon struck a clod and knocked the board off. 
The survivor managed to suspend himself to the reach 
with his feet and hands, and was so carried untouched 
into the town, the horses on the full gallop, and one 
of them dropping dead as soon as they arrived. An 
other, who had been fearfully cut with hatchets, 
crawled up a cow and sucked her milk, and was after 
ward picked up. Many dead bodies were found and 
buried. There were no farther signs of Indians for 
several days. 

At a quarter past three o clock P.M. on "Wednes 
day, Little Crow, being re-enforced by those who had 
been at New Ulm on the previous day, made an at 
tack upon Fort Kidgely. The garrison were not ex 
pecting any thing of the kind, and were at once thrown 
into the utmost confusion. The first announcement 
that the Indians were in the neighborhood was a vol 
ley fired through one of the openings, which was at 
tended with fatal effect. Sergeant Jones, the ordi 
nance sergeant, attempted to use the cannon, but 
found, to his surprise, that they could not be dis- 


charged. On removing the charges, they were found 
to be stuffed with rags, the work of some half-breeds, 
who had left the fort under pretense of going to cut 
km-ne-kin-mc,* and had deserted to the enemy. They 
were reloaded, and a brisk fire kept up. At half past 
six o clock in the evening the attack ceased, with a 
loss to the garrison of three killed and eight wound 
ed, and to the Indians of several killed and wounded. 
Among the latter was Little Crow, who was grazed 
across the breast by a cannon ball. 

On Thursday morning, at half past nine o clock, the 
attack was renewed, and lasted for about half an hour. 
At ten minutes before six o clock P.M. the attack 
was again renewed, and continued about the same 
length of time. The assailants were by no means as 
numerous as before, as many had left upon marauding 
excursions through the surrounding neighborhood. 

Little Crow returned that night with his men to the 
agency, and found that the Upper Indians, whom he 
had sent for by Little Six, had arrived; and next 
morning, enthusiastic with the hope of success, 450 
warriors, Little Crow among the number, started for 
the fort with a long train of wagons in which to carry 
their plunder. Leaving these on the reservation side 
of the river, they crossed over and concealed them 
selves in the ravines around the fort. The first inti 
mation to the garrison of the presence of the Indians 
was the appearance of about twenty warriors on the 
prairie, who began waving their blankets and uttering 
shouts of derision and defiance. This was done for 
the purpose of luring the whites from the fort, when 

* A species of willow, the bark of which the Indians mix with to 
bacco and use for smoking. 


a rush was to be made to the inside. In this they 
failed ; and as soon as it became apparent that this 
stratagem would not succeed, a shower of bullets rain 
ed upon the fort from every directipo. The ravines 
were alive with men, and the firing accompanied 
by hideous shouts and yells. The attack continued 
until a quarter before seven o clock P.M., nearly five 
hours, and was most determined, bitter, and persistent. 

During the fight the Indians went into the govern 
ment stables and let loose all the horses and mules. 
All the buildings around the fort, except the maga 
zine, were fired by the assailants or the besieged. 
Fire-arrows were shot upon, the roof of the fort, but 
went out without accomplishing their design. A 
number of Indians posted themselves in one of the 
stables and opened fire. Sergeant Jones skillfully 
exploded a, shell within it, and set the building on 
fire. Just as the shell exploded, Thomas Robertson, 
a half-breed, by direction of the Indians, was engaged 
in firing upon a man on one of the porches of the 
fort. He escaped miraculously without injury. Dur 
ing the fight one white was killed and seven slight 
ly wounded. At one time a charging party was 
placed near the fort, and Little Crow was heard urg 
ing them to charge, but without avail. Lieutenants 
Shehan, Gorman, and Whipple, and Sergeants Jones 
and M Grew, did good service in these actions. 

Among those in the fort were the Sioux agent, Mr. 
Galbraith, and Messrs. Ramsey, Hatch, and Wykoff, 
who had with them some $72,000 in coin to make 
the payment. They had reached the fort with it on 
Monday, the first day of the outbreak. 

Fort Ridgely was ill adapted for defense, and a de- 


termined charge upon it would have resulted in its 
fall. There are two stone buildings placed at right 
angles, in the shape of the letter " L," and on each side 
of this are arranged rows of wooden buildings, so as to 
form two squares. It is situated upon the spur of a 
bluff, and commanded on two sides by ravines. The 
ends of the buildings were pierced with bullets, which 
fell into the rooms in showers. 

A little while before the first fight Henry Balland 
left the fort to obtain a horse to go to the settlements. 
Before he could return the Indians had surrounded 
the place and made it impossible. He sprang into 
the bushes, where he remained concealed for several 
hours, the Indians being close enough to him for their 
words and motions to be noted. Several times they 
nearly stumbled over him. While the attack was 
progressing a heavy storm sprung up, and Balland 
saw some one hundred Indians come close up to where 
he was lying. There they remained some time, ranged 
along in a single line, with their guns under their 
blankets to keep them dry. 

As the dusk came on, guided by the flashes of light 
ning, he wormed his way cautiously toward the river 
and effected his escape. When about thirty miles on 
his journey, he met a soldier who said he was going 
to the fort. Balland cautioned him against it, and 
told him how it was surrounded by hundreds of In 
dians ; but the other said he didn t care, that he would 
look for himself, and should not return until he could 
say he had seen the fort. Balland told him he might 
see it, but that he would never live to tell of it. He 
rode laughingly on, and was shot close to the fort by 
Little Crow s brother. Antoine Frenier, on his re- 


turn from Yellow Medicine, passed near while the fight 
was progressing, and, finding it impossible to enter, 
went on toward Henderson. He also met at Cum- 
mings s Place, below, a soldier, who also continued on 
to the fort contrary to his warning, and met with the 
fate of the other. 

On the night of the last attack, the party of the mis 
sionaries Eiggs and Williamson arrived in the vicin 
ity, and Mr. Hunter, one of their number, crawled in 
to ascertain the condition of the garrison. He was 
told that the place was already filled with fugitives, 
and that they had better make their way to Hender 
son. He crept cautiously back, and communicated 
the news to his wearied friends, who had expected 
here, without doubt, to find relief. Bracing up their 
courage as well as they could, they camped until 
morning, and, strange to say, passed through the car 
nival of blood that was raging in safety. 

Early on Saturday, the 23d instant, the Indians 
made their way to New Ulm. Since Tuesday no at 
tack had been made upon that place, and the time 
had been passed in strengthening their works, bury- 
ing their dead, and in scouting through the surround 
ing country. Many fugitives were thus rescued. At 
nine o clock in the morning a series of fires were seen 
along the Fort Ridgely side of the river, commencing 
from the direction of the fort, and rapidly nearing 
New Ulm. The anxious inmates of the town knew 
that these arose from the houses along the road, and 
indicated the approach of their foes. As the fires 
reached opposite the town, long lines of Indians were 
seen coming down the gullies in the bluff, near the 
middle ferry, and taking positions. 


About seventy-five men under Captain Huey, of 
St. Peter s, at the request of citizens who owned prop 
erty on the other shore, had volunteered, before the 
Indians appeared, to check their depredations. They 
crossed at the upper ferry just before the Indians 
came in sight. They soon got into a brisk fight, and 
lost two of their men. Being outnumbered and un 
able to return, they retreated toward St. Peter s, and at 
Nicollet, fourteen miles from New Ulm, joined Cap 
tain Cox s command of 150 men, who were on their 
way to New Ulm from St. Peter s. 

Simultaneous with this attack, a large body of In 
dians, variously estimated from 350 to 500, made their 
appearance two miles and a half above the town. 
Then those at the middle ferry, as a signal for the 
attack, built a fire which gave out a large smoke, 
which the others answered in like manner, and then 
they came down upon the town. 

Judge Flandreau, conceiving that a battle on the 
open prairie would be more advantageous to the 
whites, posted all his available force, numbering some 
two hundred and fifty men, on the open field outside 
the town, about half a mile distant at some points, and 
at a greater distance in the direction toward the place 
where he conceived the first attack would be made. 

He thus describes what subsequently occurred: 
"At nearly 10 o clock AM. the body of Indians began 
to move toward us, first slowly, and then with con 
siderable rapidity. Their advance upon th*e sloping 
prairie in the bright sunlight was a very fine specta 
cle, and to such inexperienced soldiers as we all were, 
intensely exciting. When within about one mile and 
a half of us the mass began to expand like a fan, and 


increase in the velocity of its approach, and continued 
this movement until within about double rifle shot, 
when it had covered our entire front. 

"Then the savages uttered a terrific yell, and came 
down upon us like the wind. I had stationed myself 
at a point in the rear where communications could be 
had with me easily, and waited the first discharge 
with great anxiety, as it seemed to me that to yield was 
certain destruction, as the enemy would rush into the 
town and drive all before them. The yell unsettled 
the men a little, and just as the rifles began to crack 
they fell back along the whole line, and committed 
the error of passing the outer houses without taking 
possession of them a mistake which the Indians im 
mediately took advantage of by themselves occupy 
ing them in squads of two and three, and up to ten. 
They poured into us a sharp and rapid fire as we fell 
back, and opened from houses in every direction. 
Several of us rode up the hill, endeavoring to rally the 
men, and with good effect, as they gave three cheers, 
and sallied out of various houses they had retreated 
to, and checked the advance effectually. The firing 
from both sides then became general, sharp, and rapid ; 
and it got to be a regular Indian skirmish, in which 
every man did his own work after his own fashion. 

" The Indians had spread out until they had got 
into our rear and on all sides, having the very decided 
advantage of the houses on the bluff, which command 
ed the inferior of the town with the exception of the 
wind-mill, which was occupied by about twenty of the 
Le Sueur Tigers, who held them at long range. 

" The wind was from the lower part of the town ; 
and this fact directed the larger part of the enemy to 


that point, where they promptly commenced firing the 
houses and advancing behind the smoke. The con 
flagration became general in the lower part of the 
town on both sides of the street, and the bullets flew 
very thickly both from the bluff and up the street. I 
thought it prudent to dismount and conduct the de 
fense on foot. Just at this point Captain Dodd, of St. 
Peter s, and some one else whose name I do not know, 
charged down the street to ascertain whether some 
horsemen seen in the extreme lower town were not 
our friends coming in, and were met about three blocks 
down with a heavy volley from behind a house, five 
bullets passing through Captain Dodd s body, and sev 
eral through that of his horse. The horsemen both 
turned, and the captain got sufficiently near to be re 
ceived by his friends before he fell. He died about 
five hours after being hit. Too much can not be said 
of his personal bravery and general desire to perform 
his duty manfully. Captain Saunders, of the Le Sueur 
company, was shot through his body^ shortly after, and 
retired, placing his rifle in effective hands, and encour 
aging the men. The fight was going on all around 
the town during the whole forenoon and part of the 
afternoon, sometimes with slight advantage to us and 
again to the Indians ; but the difficulty which stared 
us in the face was their gradual but certain approach 
up the main street behind the burning buildings, 
which promised our destruction. 

" We frequently sallied out and took buildings in 
advance ; but the risk of being picked off from the 
bluff was unequal to the advantage gained, and the 
duty was performed with some reluctance by the men. 
In the lower part of the town I had some of the best 


men in the state, both as shots and for coolness and 
determination. It will be sufficient to mention two 
as types of the class of the best fighting men Asa 
White and Newell Horton, known to all old settlers. 

" They did very effective service in checking the 
advance, both by their unerring rifles and the good 
example their steadiness placed before the younger 
men. We discovered a concentration of Indians on 
the side of the street toward the river and at the rear 
of the buildings, and expected a rush upon the town 
from that position, the result of which I feared more 
than any thing else, as the boys had proved unequal 
to it in the morning ; and we were not disappointed ; 
for in a few moments they came on, on ponies and on 
foot, furiously, about sixty in number, charging around 
the point of a little grove of oaks. 

" This was the critical point of the day ; but four or 
five hours under fire had brought the boys up to the 
fighting temperature, and they stood firmly, and ad 
vanced with a cheer, routing the rascals like sheep. 
They received us "with a very hot fire, killing Hough- 
ton and the elderly gentleman, whose name I did not 
know. As they fled in a crowd, at a very short 
range, we gave them a volley that was very effective, 
and settled the fortunes of the day in our favor, for 
they did not dare to try it over. I think, after once 
repulsing them in a fair fight, we could have success 
fully resisted them had they returned a second time, 
as the necessary confidence had been gained. White 
men fight under a great disadvantage the first time 
they engage. There is something so fiendish in their 
yells, and terrifying in their appearance when in bat 
tle, that it takes a good deal of time to overcome the 


unpleasant sensation it inspires. There is a snake- 
like stealth in all their movements that excites dis 
trust and uncertainty, and which unsteadies the nerves 
at first. 

"After this repulse the battle raged until dark, with 
out sufficient advantage on one side or the other to 
merit mention in detail, when the savages drew off, 
firing only an occasional shot from under close cover. 
After dark we decreased the extent of our lines of 
barricades ; and I deemed it prudent to order all the 
buildings outside to be burned, in order to prevent 
them from affording protection to the savages while 
they advanced to annoy us. We were compelled to 
consume about forty valuable buildings ; but, as it was 
a military necessity, the inhabitants did not demur, but 
themselves applied the torch cheerfully. In a short 
time we had a fair field before us of open prairie, 
with the exception of a large brick building, which 
we held, and had loopholed in all the stories on all 
sides, and which commanded a large portion of our 
front toward the bluff. We also dug a system of ri 
fle-pits on that front outside the barricades, about four 
rods apart, which completed our defenses. 

" That night we slept very little, every man being 
at the barricades all night, each third man being al 
lowed to sleep at intervals. In the morning the at 
tack was renewed, but not with much vigor, and sub 
sided about noon."* 

* Judge Charles E. Flandreau, the gallant defender of New Ulm, 
is aged about thirty-five years. Pie is tall of stature, and as lithe, 
sinewy, and active as an Indian. His father, who is now deceased, 
was an eminent lawyer of the State of New York, and once a partner 
of the celebrated Aaron Burr. Judge Flandreau was once a mid 
shipman in the United States Navy, but abandoned that profession for 


During the morning Captain E. St. Julien Cox, with 
one hundred and forty-five volunteers from Sibley and 
Nicollet counties, arrived. The whites lost about ten 
killed and fifty wounded. The loss of the Indians in 
killed and wounded was also considerable. 

During the fight heavy firing was kept up on the 
whites from a wood-pile, and an Indian observed 
standing upon it. The whites fired upon him until 
the Indians left, but he kept his position undisturbed. 
On approaching, he was found to be dead and pierced 
with bullets. He had been propped up there to draw 
our fire. A half-breed named Le Blanc lay in the 
grass as our men advanced, and fired and wounded 
one of them. He rose and ran partially bent over, 
but a bullet sped after him, and cut the great artery 
on the shoulder, from which the blood spirted in a 
large stream. He was soon finished, his head cut off 
and scalped. He had been one of the most desperate 
of the foe. The savages used the hill for their hospi 
tal, and from this they had a white flag flying during 
the fight. On Sunday morning one of their number 
was secreted in one of the houses close to the whites, 
and escaped by throwing a feather bed over his back, 
so as to hide his body, and walking leisurely away. 
A dozen shots could have been fired with fatal effect, 

the study of law, in which he has achieved signal success. His quick 
apprehension, his ready application of principles to the case before 
him, and untiring activity, early attracted the attention of the public. 
He has been Indian Agent, judge of the Territorial District Court 
of Minnesota, member of the State Constitutional Convention and of 
the Senate, and now holds the position of associate justice of the Su 
preme Court. At the first intimation of the outbreak he left his fam 
ily and repaired to the defense of the frontier, where he remained un 
til relieved by the regular forces several weeks afterward. 


but all supposed he was a white man, and several re 
marked, " What a fool that man is, to expose himself 
in that way." When he got out of range he threw 
the bed down, and danced and shouted in triumph. 




SOME of the individual outrages which occurred on 
Monday were detailed in the fourth chapter ; but while 
New Ulm and Fort Ridgely were attacked, the depre 
dations extended throughout the whole western fron 
tier of Minnesota, and into Iowa and Dakota. Dur 
ing this week over seven hundred people perished, 
and about two hundred were made captive. Ori 
Tuesday two Indians killed Mr. Amos W. Huggins at 
Lac qui Parle. He was there engaged in conducting 
a school for their children, and was born and bred 
among them. Mr. Galbraith thus speaks of him : "Mr. 
Huggins exercised nothing but kindness toward the 
Indians. He fed them when hungry, clothed them 
when naked, attended them when sick, and advised 
and cheered them in all their difficulties. He was in 
telligent, industrious, energetic, and good, and yet he 
was one of the first victims of the outbreak, shot down 
like a dog by the very Indians whom he had so long 
and so well served." His wife and child, and a Miss 
Julia La Fromboise, also a teacher, were dragged into 

Early on Wednesday, Antoine Freniere, the Sioux 
interpreter, who had been dispatched from Fort Eidge 
ly on Tuesday, by the agent Galbraith, to ascertain 
the condition of affairs at the Yellow Medicine Agen- 


cy, where tie had left his family, went into a house a 
few miles below the agency to get a match to light 
his pipe. There he saw seven little children, the eld 
est not over eight years of age, Germans. One of 
them, a girl, was wounded in the hand. They ap 
peared to be stupid and unconscious of their condi 
tion. Freniere asked the eldest where her mother 
was, and she pointed out of doors in a particular direc 
tion. He went out, and, passing down a little path to 
ward the spot indicated, suddenly came upon a sight 
which froze his veins with horror. There, closely 
grouped together, were twenty - seven dead bodies, 
pierced with bullets, and hacked with knives and 
hatchets, pale and ghastly, and clotted with blood. 
The only living creature was a little child on the 
breast of a woman, probably its mother, vainly seek 
ing for nourishment. Terrified by the sight, knowing 
that the savages were close around him, and that he 
could not save the children, he hastened away, leaving 
them to their fate. 

On the same day they began murdering at Lake 
Shetek and Spirit Lake, in Iowa, and also in the 
neighborhood of Forest City, one hundred and twen 
ty miles apart. 

About seven o clock four Indians came to the house 
of a farmer named Anderson, residing with his family 
thirty miles west of Forest City, on Eagle Lake. They 
had often visited there before, were well acquainted 
with the family, and had received many favors from 
them. One was called John, and could talk English 
a little. They were all dressed in white men s clothes, 
wore hats, and had their hair cut short. Each one 
carried a double-barreled shot-gun. When they came 



to the door they shook hands with Anderson, and ask 
ed for some milk to drink, which he brought them in 
a pan. They drank it and handed the pan back, and 
he set it down and passed out the door. Then two 
of the Indians fired and killed him instantly. A son 
of Anderson had gone into the garden to dig potatoes 
for the Indians at their request, and they fired and 
killed him. Another son, standing in the door, was 
wounded in the shoulder and left for dead. The 
mother, with her little child, rushed down cellar and 
escaped notice. A daughter, named Julia, ran into 
the high grass with a little sister aged ten years. The 
Indians, after a long search, discovered them, and, plac 
ing them on a pony, carried them west a mile and a 
half, where they camped, one of their number keeping 
watch upon the captives during the night. Early in 
the morning their ponies ran away, and the Indians 
started in pursuit. Julia and her sister ran into the 
bush, and reached Forest City two days afterward, 
"camping," to use her own words, on the open prairie 
at night, and sucking the cows for sustenance. 

Four other Indians on the way pursued and dis 
charged their guns at them, but without effect. They 
escaped these by again getting into the brush. They 
saw lying dead along the road two acquaintances 
named Buckland and Peterson. Both had their heads 
cut off. All the skin was torn from Peterson s face, 
and many long gashes, running lengthwise, were cut 
into his body, and two knives inserted in his stomach. 
"When the Indians left the house, the mother, carrying 
her child, went to Green Lake, ten miles distant, ex 
pecting to find assistance, but the Indians had preceded 
her. Two days afterward she returned to her house, 


and found the wounded son, whom she had left for 
dead, composedly baking bread. 

Attaching the ox-team to their wagon, the three 
got in, and went to a Mr. Foote s house, several miles 
distant. There they found Foote and a Norwegian, 
named Erickson, both severely wounded. Placing 
these in their wagon, they all started for Forest City, 
and arrived in safety on Sunday evening. The daugh 
ter, Julia, had left before, and did not know of their 
safety for a week afterward. 

The Lake Shetek settlement was about seventy 
miles west of Mankato, and numbered about forty-five 
persons, men, women, and children. They were at 
tacked by Lean Bear and eight of his men, and by 
the bands of White Lodge and Sleepy Eyes. Ten or 
eleven of the party were taken captives, about twenty 
escaped, mostly severely wounded, and about fifteen 
were killed. Three women and six children were 
shot by one man, who was the recipient of frequent 
charities from the hands of the whites whom he killed. 
Among the persons killed was a child of Mr. Duly, 
four and a half years old, who was pounded to death 
by a squaw. Among those who escaped was the fa 
ther, Mr. Duly ; but, before he did so, he managed to 
put an end to the mortal career of one of his assailants 
Lean Bear. 

The prisoners were carried to the Missouri Eiver, 
and were afterward ransomed. Among the number 
was the wife and two children of Mr. Duly, Mrs. 
"Wright and child, and two children of Mr. Ireland, 
and a daughter of Mr. Everett. The distance is esti 
mated to be seven hundred and fifty miles by the 
route which they traveled. The women were com- 


polled to witness the murder of most of their children. 
The children who accompanied them are believed to 
be the only survivors of their respective families, with 
one exception. 

One of the lady captives was severely wounded in 
the foot by a gunshot, from which she suffered excru 
ciatingly. She was enceinte at the time ; but, notwith 
standing her delicate condition, had the dreadful alter 
native presented to her of submitting to the vile em 
braces of her captors, or seeing her only surviving 
child brutally murdered. This brutality produced 
premature labor; but even this did not relieve her 
from the foul treatment to which she was continually 
subjected. From the time of her captivity to her re 
lease she was five times sold to different Indians, and 
has often been compelled to submit to the gratifica 
tion of their brutal passions. 

The other lady, a very intelligent and respectable 
woman, who, at the time of her capture, had an infant 
several months old, after having been compelled to 
submit to the same heartless indignities for the sake 
of saving the life of her infant, had it wrested from 
her arms and its brains dashed out against the wagon 
she was driving. She, too, was changed from owner 
to owner in the same manner as the other, and forced 
to submit to the same treatment. 

One little girl, ten years old, who had received sev 
eral wounds at the hands of the savages, was held 
prostrate on the ground by four of her captors, and 
violated by more than twenty young men of the tribe 
at a time. This treatment was kept up from day to 
day, until her system became completely prostrate, 
and herself well-nigh lifeless. 


Another little girl, nine years of age, was subject to 
treatment still more brutal. In consequence of her 
tender years, the savages resorted to horrid mutilations 
of her person to enable them to gratify their lustful 
desires. It is improper to detail publicly all the cruel 
ties to which they were subjected. Imagination can 
hardly depict the enormities perpetrated upon these 
poor women. While suffering these barbarities, their 
cries are represented to have been of the most heart 
rending character. 

At the time the little girl last mentioned was sub 
ject to these inhumanities, she was suffering from the 
effects of a compound fracture of the bones both above 
and below the elbow, produced by a gunshot wound, 
from which she has not yet recovered. During the 
massacre in Minnesota, and while on their journey to 
the Missouri, the savage practices of the younger In 
dians far surpassed in atrocity that of the older mem 
bers of the tribe. Neither age, condition, nor sex 
among them were exempt from participation in these 
cruelties. The practice of shooting arrows into de 
fenseless women and children constituted their favor 
ite amusement.* 

The meeting between Mr. Everett and his little 
daughter, many weary months afterward, , was most 
affecting. His wife had been murdered, a son four 
years old had been killed before his eyes, and another, 
still younger, was alive when last seen. He himself 
was then suffering from his wounds. Out of this once 
happy family father and child alone remained. An 
eye-witness of their reunion says : " The child took 
the hand of her father, and he pressed her to his bo- 
* See "Mankato Record" and "Washington Republican." 


som, but not a word was spoken by either. The joy 
of meeting the sole remnant of his family was so sad 
dened by the recollection so vividly forced upon his 
mind by the presence of his child of the fate of his 
dearly -loved wife and darling boys, that the strong 
man was overcome with emotion. He wept like a 
child. He asked his daughter about her little brother 
two years old, of whom the father had heard no ti 
dings. She replied .that when she saw him last he 
was crawling into the bushes to hide himself from the 
savages. He probably escaped the tomahawk of the 
Indian only to die of starvation in the thickets of 
Lake Shetek." 

At the Lake Shetek settlement also lived Mrs. 
Phineas B. Hurd. She was born in Western New 
York, passed her childhood in Steuben County in that 
state, where she was married in 1857, and emigrated 
to La Crosse, Wisconsin. Here she and her husband 
remained about two years, and from there removed to 
the neighborhood of St. Peter s with the intention of 
settlement, but finally joined in the emigration still 
farther westward, and settled at Lake Shetek, where 
she resided three years. 

On the 2d of June last, Mr. Hurd, with another man, 
left home on a trip to Dacota Territory, to be absent 
a month, taking a span of horses and wagon, and such 
other outfit as would be required upon such an expe 
dition, thus leaving Mrs. Hurd alone with her two chil 
dren and a Mr.Voigt, who had charge of the farm. 
On the morning of the 20th of August, about five 
o clock, while Mrs. Hurd was milking, some twenty 
Indians rode up to the house and dismounted. She 
discovered among the horses one of their own that was 


taken away by Mr. Hurd. She got into the house be 
fore the Indians, who entered and began smoking, as 
was their custom. Five of these men she knew, one 
being a half-breed that could speak English. Her chil 
dren were in bed, and at the time of the entrance of 
the Indians asleep. The youngest, about a year old, 
awoke and cried, when Mr. Voigt took it up and car 
ried it into the front yard, when one of the Indians 
stepped to the door and shot him through the body. 
He fell dead with the child in his arms. At this sig 
nal some ten or fifteen more Indians and squaws rush 
ed into the house, they having been concealed near 
by, and commenced an indiscriminate destruction of 
every thing in the house, breaking open trunks, de 
stroying furniture, cutting open feather-beds, and scat 
tering the contents about the house and yard. Mrs. 
Hurd, in her uncommon energy and industry as a pi 
oneer housewife, had, with a good stock of cows, be 
gun to make butter and cheese even in this new coun 
try, and had on hand at the time two hundred pounds 
of butter and twenty-three cheeses. These the Indians 
threw out into the yard and destroyed. While this 
destruction was going on, Mrs. Hurd was told that her 
life would be spared on condition that she would give 
no alarm, and leave the settlement by an unfrequent 
ed path or trail leading directly east across the prairie, 
in the direction of JSTew Ulm, and was ordered to take 
her children and commence her march. Upon plead 
ing for her children s clothes, she was hurried off, be 
ing refused even her sun-bonnet or shawl. She took 
her youngest in her arms and led the other, a little 
boy of about three years, by the hand, and, being es 
corted by seven Indians on horseback, she turned her 


back on her once prosperous and happy home. The 
distance across the prairie in the direction which she 
was sent was sixty or seventy miles to a habitation. 
The Indians went with her three miles, and before 
taking leave of her repeated the condition of her re 
lease, and she was told that the whites were all to be 
killed, but that she might go to her mother. Thus she 
was left with her two children almost naked, herself 
bareheaded, without food or raiment, not even a blank 
et to shelter her and her children from the cold dews 
of the night or the storm. 

After the Indians left her, three miles from her 
home, on the prairie, " we took our way," said Mrs. 
Hurd, " through the unfrequented road or trail into 
which the Indians had conducted us. It was clear, 
and the sun shone with more than usual brightness. 
The dew on the grass was heavy. My little boy, "Wil 
liam Henry, being barefooted and thinly clad, shiver 
ed with the cold, and, pressing close to me, entreated 
me to return to our home. He did not know of the 
death of Mr. Yoigt, as I kept him from the sight of the 
corpse. He could not understand why I insisted upon 
going on, enduring the pain and cold of so cheerless a 
morning. He cried pitifully at first, but, after a time, 
pressing my hand, he trudged manfully along by my 
side. The little one rested in my arms unconscious 
of our situation. Two guns were fired when I was a 
short distance out, which told the death of my neigh 
bor, Mr. Cook. I well knew its fearful meaning. There 
was death behind, and all the horrors of starvation be 
fore me. But there was no alternative. For my chil 
dren, any thing but death at the hands of the merci 
less savage; even starvation on the prairies seemed 
preferable to this. 


"About ten o clock in the forenoon a thunder 
storm suddenly arose. It was of unusual violence; 
the wind was not high, but the lightning, thunder, 
and rain were most terrible. The violence of the 
storm was expended in about three hours, but the rain 
continued to fall slowly until night, and at intervals 
continued until morning. During the storm I lost 
the trail, and walked on, not knowing whether I was 
right or wrong. Water covered the lower portions 
of the prairie, and it was with difficulty I could find a 
place to rest when night came on. At last I came to 
a sand-hill or knoll ; on the top of this I sat down to 
rest for the night. I laid my children down, and 
leaned over them to protect them from the rain and 
chilling blast. Hftngry, weary, and wet, William fell 
asleep, and continued so until morning. The younger 
one worried much ; the night wore away slowly, and 
the morning at last came, inviting us to renewed ef 
forts. As soon as I could see, I took my little ones 
and moved on. About seven o clock I heard guns, 
and for the first time became conscious that I had lost 
my way and was still in the vicinity of the lake. I 
changed my course, avoiding the direction in which I 
heard the guns, and pressed on with increased energy. 
No trail was visible. As for myself, I was not con 
scious of hunger ; but it was harassing to a mother s 
heart to listen to the cries of my precious boy for his 
usual beverage of milk, and his constant complaints 
of hunger ; but there was no remedy. The entire day 
was misty and the grass wet. Our clothes were not 
dry during the day. Toward night William grew 
sick, and vomited until it seemed impossible for him 
longer to keep up. The youngest still nursed, and 
E 2 


did not seem to suffer materially. About dark on 
the second day I struck a road, and knew at once 
where I was, and to my horror found I was only four 
miles from home. Thus had two days and one night 
been passed, traveling, probably, in a circle. I felt al 
most exhausted, and my journey but just began ; but, 
discouraging as this misfortune might be, as the shades 
of night again closed around me, the sight of a known 
object was a pleasure to me. I was no longer lost 
upon the vast prairie. 

"It was now that I felt for the first time it would 
be better to die at once ; that it would be a satisfac 
tion to die here, and end our weary journey on this 
traveled road over which we had passed in our hap 
pier days. I could not bear to lie down with my lit 
tle ones on the unknown and trackless waste over 
which we had been wandering. But this feeling was 
but for a moment. I took courage and started on the 
road to New Ulm. When it became quite dark I 
halted for the night ; that night I passed as before, 
without sleep. In the morning early I started on. 
It was foggy and the grass wet ; the road, being but 
little traveled, was grown up with grass. William 
was so sick this morning that he could not walk much 
of the time, so I was obliged to carry both. I was 
now sensibly reduced in strength, and felt approach 
ing hunger. My boy no longer asked for food, but 
was thirsty, and drank frequently from the pools by 
the wayside. I could no longer carry both my chil 
dren at the same time, but took one at a distance of a 
quarter or half a mile, laid it in the grass, and return 
ed for the other ; in this way I traveled twelve miles, 
to a place called Dutch Charlie s, sixteen miles from 


Lake Shetek. I arrived there about sunset, having 
been sustained in my weary journey by the sweet 
hope of relief. My toils seemed about at an end ; but 
what was my consternation and despair when I found 
it empty I Every article of food or clothing removed ! 
My heart seemed to die within me, and I sunk down 
in despair. The cries of my child aroused me from 
my almost unconscious state, and I began my search 
for food. The house had not been plundered by the 
Indians, but abandoned by its owner. I had prom 
ised my boy food when we arrived here, and when 
none could be found he cried most bitterly. But I 
did not shed a tear, nor am I conscious of having done 
so during all this journey. I found some carrots and 
onions growing in the garden, which I ate raw, hav 
ing no fire. My eldest child continued vomiting. I 
offered him some carrot, but he could not eat it. That 
night we staid in a cornfield, and the next morning 
at daylight I renewed my search for food. To my 
great joy, I found the remains of a spoiled ham. Here, 
I may say, my good fortune began. There was not 
more than a pound of it, and that much decayed. 
This I saved for my boy, feeding it to him in very 
small quantities ; his vomiting ceased, and he revived 
rapidly. I gathered more carrots and onions, and 
with this store of provisions, at about eight o clock 
on the morning of the third day, I again set forth on 
my weary road for the residence of Mr. Brown, twen 
ty-five miles distant. This distance I reached in two 
days. Under the effects of the food I was able to give 
my boy, he gained strength, and was able to walk all 
of the last day. When within about three miles of 
the residence of Mr. Brown, two of our neighbors from 


Lake Shetek settlement overtook us, under the escort 
of the mail-carrier. Both of them had been wounded 
by the Indians and left for dead in the attack on the 
settlement. Thomas Ireland, one of the party, had 
been hit with eight balls, and, strange to say, was still 
able to walk, and had done so most of the way. Mrs. 
Estlick, the other person under escort, was utterly un 
able to walk, having been shot in the foot, once in the 
side, and once in the arm. Her husband had been 
killed, and her son, about ten years old, wounded. 
The mail-carrier had overtaken this party after the 
fight with the Indians at the lake, and, placing Mrs. 
Estlick in his sulky, he was leading his horse. 

"As the little party came in sight I took them to 
be Indians, and felt that after all my toil and suffering 
I must die, with my children, by the hand of the sav 
age. I feared to look around, but kept on my way 
until overtaken. This was a little before sunset, and 
we all arrived at the residence of Mr. Brown that 
night. This house was also deserted and empty, but, 
being fastened up, we thought they might come back. 
Our company being too weak and destitute to proceed, 
we took possession of the house and remained ten days. 
There we found potatoes and green corn. The mail- 
carrier, accompanied by Mr. Ireland, lame as he was, 
proceeded on the next morning to New Ulm, where 
they found there had been a battle with the Indians, 
and one hundred and ninety-two houses burned. A 
party of twelve men were immediately sent with a 
wagon to our relief. It was now that we learned the 
fate of Mr. Brown and family all had been murder 
ed! We also learned of the general outbreak and 
massacre of all the more remote settlements ; and the 


sad, sickening thought was now fully confirmed in my 
mind that my husband was dead my fatherless chil 
dren and myself made beggars." 

She has been dealt kindly with, and will probably 
be paid for loss of property ; but what can bring back 
to her the murdered husband, the beauty, loveliness, 
and enjoyment that surrounded her on the morning 
of the 20th of August, 1862, or blot from her memory 
those awful dreary nights of watching alone upon the 
broad prairie, in the storm and in the tempest, amid 
thunderings and lightnings? Or who can comtem- 
plate that mother s feelings as her sick and helpless 
child cried for bread, and there was none to give, or 
as she bore the one along the almost trackless waste 
and laid it down amid the prairie grass, and then re 
turned for her other offspring ? 

The Mantuan bard has touched a universal chord 
of human sympathy in his deep-toned description of 
the flight of his hero from the burning city of Troy, 
bearing his " good father" Anchises on his back, and 
leading " the little Ascanius" by the hand, who, ever 
and anon falling in the rear, would "follow with une 
qual step." The heroine of Lake Shetek bore her 
two Ascanii in her arms ; but, unequal to the double 
burden, was compelled to deposit half her precious 
cargo in the prairie grass, and, returning for the other, 
to repeat for the third time her painful steps over the 
same. This process, repeated at the end of each half 
or quarter of a mile, extended the fearful duration of 
her terrible flight through the lonely and uninhabited 

The force of nature could go no farther, and mater 
nal love has no stronger exemplification. But for the 



plentiful showers of refreshing rain, sent by a merciful 
Providence, these poor wanderers would have fainted 
by the way, and the touching story of the heroine of 
Shetek would have been forever shrouded in mys- 

Mrs. Estlick s son Burton, not ten years of age, and 
his little brother, aged five years, having become sep- 

ilKB. E8T1.10K AND (JUILDliEJS. 

arated from their mother, arrived safely at the settle 
ments days after the attack. Burton alternately led 
and carried the little fellow a distance of eighty miles. 

* Correspondence of the Davenport Gazette. 


Such instances of heroic fortitude were not common. 
Many strong, burly men basely deserted their friends 
to save their own lives. Many were armed and did 
not fire a shot, so paralyzed were they by terror. Not 
over three Indians fell except in battle. 

Five persons were burning charcoal for the depart 
ment on Big Stone Lake, at the upper extremity of 
the reservation, on Thursday. They had their tents 
pitched on the edge of a ravine near some woods. 
Toward morning they heard several war-whoops, and 
rushed out to see what was the matter, when fifty or 
sixty Indians, some on foot and some on horseback, 
surrounded them, and when they got within ten paces 
fired and killed all but one Anthony Menderfield. 
He plunged in the ravine and made his escape amid 
a shower of bullets. He saw Mrs. Huggins and Miss 
La Framboise at Lac qui Parle. 

On Saturday they massacred settlers and commit 
ted depredations in the Norwegian Grove settlements 
back of Henderson. There they committed one of 
their grossest outrages. Stripping a captive naked, 
they fastened her arms and legs to the ground by ty 
ing them to stakes. Then a dozen of them ravished 
her ; and while she was almost fainting with exhaus 
tion, they sharpened a rail and drove it into her per 
son. This soon ended her life with the most horrible 
of tortures. On the same day, while the second bat 
tle at New Ulm was progressing, the Upper Sissetons 
commenced their ravages in the valley of the Eed 
Eiver of the North, murdering several persons at 
Breckinridge, and threatening Fort Abercrombie. 

Tens of thousands of acres of crops, the fruits of 
hardy labor, into which the sickle had just been put, 


were abandoned to destruction. Cattle, wantonly shot 
down, lay rotting upon the prairies beside their own 
ers ; others roamed, scared and wild, through the cul 
tivated fields. From Fort Abercrombie to the Iowa 
line, a frontage of two hundred miles, and extending 
inwardly from Big Stone Lake to Forest City, an area 
of over twenty thousand square miles, the torch and 
the tomahawk asserted themselves supreme. Here 
and there armed parties from the interior settlements 
ventured a little distance forth for the burial of the 
dead, and to watch the movements of the foe ; but, 
with this exception, in this vast district there was no 
white person save the flying fugitive, hiding himself 
by day, and shivering with affright at every sound 
and at every shadow that fell upon the grass. 

The news of the first murders at Acton, on Sunday, 
and of the outbreak at Bed- Wood, on Monday, reach 
ed St. Paul on Tuesday, the messengers notifying all 
the settlements through which they passed. It spread 
quickly throughout the country. Not credited at 
first, fearful confirmation was received in every pass 
ing hour. The frightened fugitives poured into the 
towns by thousands ; large numbers of them crowd 
ing even to St. Paul, Hastings, and Winona, and many 
of them not stopping until they had left the state far 
behind them. 

St. Peter s, Mankato, Henderson, St. Cloud, Forest 
City, and Glencoe, and all the towns along the imme 
diate frontier, were jammed with the sufferers. On 
every street corner they bared their wounds and told 
their piteous tales. 

The uncertainty of the number of the hostile Sioux, 
and the probability that the Winnebagoes and the 


Chippeways were involved with them, increased the 
public excitement. A number of the Winnebagoes, 
it will be recollected, were at Eed-Wood when the 
outbreak commenced ; and several of these were ar 
rested on Tuesday on their way to their own reserva 
tion, who said their guns were loaded with shot, but 
which proved to be balls. The Chippeways on the 
same day commenced plundering the government 
property at their agency on the Upper Mississippi, and 
taking captives, and assembling their warriors at Grull 
Lake, twenty miles north of Fort Eipley, and sending 
their families to points remote from danger. Myste 
rious messages had been passing between their res 
ervations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan dur 
ing the previous year, and it was known that they 
complained of the same class of grievances as the Si 
oux. Hole-in-the-Day, a wise, brave, and distinguish 
ed chief, openly advocated a junction with the Sioux, 
and he himself had a personal encounter with the 
whites, in which shots were exchanged. He urged an 
exterminating war in the councils of his people, and 
only waited for the arrival of warriors from Leech 
Lake to attack Fort Eipley. Commissioner Dole, who 
had progressed as far as St. Cloud on his way to the 
Eed Eiver of the North to form a treaty with the Eed 
Lake Chippeways, returned, and Walker, the agent 
for the Chippeways at Crow- Wing, fled from the 
agency, and, the troubles so weighing upon his mind 
as to produce insanity, committed suicide near Monti- 
cello on the day of the second attack on New Ulm. 

Eumor magnified the danger ; but the reasonable 
ness of apprehension will be apparent when it is con 
sidered that the Winnebagoes, who had four hundred 


warriors, were witliin a few miles of the large town 
of Mankato, which was surrounded by woods, from 
which an attack with impunity could be made ; and 
that the Chippeways, who muster four thousand war 
riors, were many of them within two days march of 


St. Paul, and that their country abounded in morasses 
and swamps as inaccessible as those into which the 
Seminoles retreated during the Florida war. 

Thus but faintly seen in the outline were the first 
week s ravages of that fierce hurricane that strode 
forth with the suddenness of thought from the deep, 
luxuriant peace of the glorious August, desolating the 
happy fields, and filling the broad land with louder 
lamentations than were heard in Bethlehem " when 
Herod s sword swept its nurseries of innocents." 

No tongue touched with fire no master hand with 
tragic colorings of black and of red, could adequately 
portray the horrid sublimities of the sorrow-stricken 
plains the smoking ruins of happy homes planted in 
the wilds with laborious care, and blossoming round 
with carefully-tended flowers the perishing harvests, 
the reaper lying dead in the swath, with his sickle in 
his hand the wild and startled ox trampling out the 
fruit of his labors, and inquiring, with raised head 
and staring eyes, the meaning of this midnight that 
had rushed upon the realm of noon the dogs "moan 
ing for vanished faces" around deserted roof -trees, 
some gone mad with despair the swollen bodies of 
the dead cattle, huge and strange as those of some an 
tediluvian world the heaps of the untimely slain, 
their headless corpses festering and rotting in the heat, 
the hogs rooting in the clustering hair and feeding 
on the gentle cheek, and all deserted by the retreat 
ing, palpitating border "where the fierce hurry of 
flight and pursuit ceases not by day or by night." 

Only the sufferer only he who has been stricken 
with as hopeless a despair as that which blanched the 
face of the last survivor of the Deluge, as he stood on 


some lone mountain peak, and the hungry waters 
mounted to his lip; only he whose home has been 
consumed, his wife dishonored before his eyes, and the 
arms of his child unlinked forever from his neck, and 
heard the dull thud of the tomahawk as it sunk into 
their brains ; only he who has been wounded unto 
death, and in his concealment felt upon his cheek the 
hot breath of his foe only he can adequately appre 
ciate the horrors of the fiendish protest of the savage 
Sioux against Civilization s irresistible march. 




WHILE the effect of the sorrows and troubles caused 
by these raids were increased by their supervening 
upon those growing out of the gigantic civil war in 
which the country was plunged, yet in the existence 
of that war there was compensation. Had the diffi 
culty arisen in a time of peace, weeks would have 
elapsed before troops could have been raised, or am 
munition and arms furnished ; and the absence of op 
position would have widened the area of devastation, 
and have added the Winnebagoes and the Chippe- 
ways to the ranks of the destroyers. But now, under 
the recent call of the President for volunteers, there 
were in the state several thousand men organized into 
regiments, and partially armed. These were at once 
hurried toward the frontier. Mounted volunteers 
were also called out by proclamation of the governor 
to join in pursuit of the foe. Officers in command, 
and the sheriffs of different counties, were authorized 
to impress horses and teams, and whatever else was 
judged necessary in the emergency. 

Upon the receipt of the news on Tuesday, Govern 
or Eamsey hastened to Mendota, and requested the 
Hon. H. H. Sibley to take command, with the rank of 
colonel, of an expedition to move up the Minnesota 
Valley. He at once accepted the position, to which he 
was peculiarly fitted by reason of his long residence 



among the Indians and his sound judgment, and the 
next morning started with four companies of the 
6th regiment for St. Peter s, where he arrived on Fri 
day, the day of the last battle at the fort. On Sun 
day this force was increased by the arrival of some 
two hundred mounted men, called the Cullen Guard, 
under the command of W. J. Cullen. These, with 
about one hundred more mounted men, were placed 
under the command of Colonel Samuel M Phaill. 

On the same day arrived six more companies of the 
6th regiment, of which Wm. R Crooks was colonel. 
Several companies of volunteer militia had also con 
gregated here, which swelled Sibley s command to 
some 1400 men. 

Large as this force was, a total ignorance of the 
whereabouts, number, and designs of the enemy, and 
the vast importance of not suffering a defeat, render 
ed their movements slower than the fiery impatience 
of the people demanded. Besides, though arms and 
ammunition were more accessible than in time of 
peace, they were not such as the magnitude of the oc 
casion required. The mounted men had no experi 
ence in war and were only partially armed, and that 
only with pistols and sabres, about whose use they 
knew nothing. A portion of the guns of the infantry 
were worthless, and for the good guns there were no 
cartridges that would fit. The foe was experienced 
in war, well armed, confident of victory, and wrought 
up to desperation by the necessity of success. Col 
onel Sibley s upward march was through scenes cal 
culated to impress him with the importance of cau 
tion. The stream of fugitives down the valley far 
outnumbered those who marched up for their relief. 


Shakopee, Belle Plaine, and Henderson were filled 
with fugitives. Guards patroled the outskirts, and 
attacks were constantly apprehended. 

Henderson was in the midst of woods, and the peo 
ple expected every moment that the enemy, whose 
work could be seen from the village in their blazing 
fires, would suddenly emerge from the woods and 
commence their depredations. St. Peter s, where he 
now was, a large, straggling town of several thousand 
inhabitants, and swelled to double its true number, 
presented a picture of excitement not easily forgotten. 
Oxen were killed in the streets, and the meat, hastily 
prepared, cooked over fires made on the ground. The 
grist-mills were surrendered by their owners to the 
use of the public, and kept in constant motion to allay 
the demand for food. All thought of property was 
abandoned. Safety of life prevailed over every other 
consideration. Poverty stared those who had been 
affluent in the. face, but they thought little of that. 
Women were to be seen in the street hanging on each 
other s necks, telling of their mutual losses, and the lit 
tle terror-stricken children, surviving remnants of once 
happy homes, crying piteously around their knees. 
The houses and stables were all occupied, and hund 
reds of the fugitives had no covering or shelter but 
the canopy of heaven. 

Were the town attacked great destruction must nec 
essarily ensue, as it was scattered over such a vast ex 
tent of country and difficult to be defended. People 
had been killed within ten miles of the place, and An- 
toine Frenier had been shot at within six miles. 

On the 26th Lieutenant Governor Donnelly wrote 
to the executive from St. Peter s: " You can hardly 


conceive the panic existing along the valley. In 
Belle Plaine I found six hundred people crowded. 
In this place the leading citizens assure me there are 
between three and four thousand refugees. On the 
road between New Ulm and Mankato are over two 
thousand. Mankato also is crowded. The people 
here are in a state of panic. They fear to see our 
forces leave. Although we may agree that much of 
this dread is without foundation, nevertheless it is pro 
ducing disastrous consequences to the state. The peo 
ple will continue to pour down the valley, carrying 
consternation wherever they go, their property in the 
mean time abandoned and going to ruin." 

The safety of these towns and the panic-stricken 
people depended entirely upon Colonel Sibley s suc 
cess, and he could not risk every thing to march, un 
til prepared, to the relief of New Ulm and Fort Kidge- 
ly. The men under Captain Cox, who reached New 
Ulm on Sunday morning, were dispatched by Colonel 
Sibley on Saturday. On Monday he sent there also 
Captain Anderson, with forty mounted men of the 
Cullen Guard, and twenty foot soldiers in wagons. 

The prospect to these was by no means agreeable. 
The last report from New Ulm was that the town was 
entirely surrounded by Indians, and that an attempt 
to penetrate their lines was perilous in the extreme. 
Not over half of the mounted men were armed with 
any thing but pistols and swords, and at the first fire 
the inexperienced riders would probably be placed 
hors du combat. The scenes through which they had 
already passed had been of a character to excite the 
imagination, and the stories which had been told mag 
nified the apprehension. They had stood guard in 


the woods of Henderson the previous night, and had 
seen a boy brought in there bleeding from wounds he 
had just received; and on their ride from that point 
to St. Peter s they found that the settlers had all fled ; 
the only whites they met were some scouts from Le 
Sueur, heavily armed, and a fugitive flying toward St. 
Peter s to obtain relief for a family who had just been 
chased in the woods by the Indians. In these they 
were just about to ride when the Indians made their 
appearance on the outskirts. While they were de 
bating on the mode of attack, William Quinn, a half- 
breed, rode up at full speed with a note from Col 
onel Sibley, telling them not to go into the woods, as 
they were filled with Indians, but to hurry to St. Pe 
ter s. It was noon before the command was ready to 
start for New Ulm, as wagons, ammunition, provisions, 
cooking utensils, axes, ropes to assist in crossing the 
river at the town if the ferry was destroyed, and many 
other things, had to be obtained. 

When three miles out, all the men discharged their 
pieces and reloaded them. At the same time they saw 
a man in the distance who ran for the woods. They 
had ridden about four miles farther when they were 
overtaken by Colonel Hewitt, of St. Paul, a member 
of the company, who informed them that the man 
they had seen had heard the discharge of the fire-arms, 
and had rushed into St. Peter s and told them the 
command had been attacked by the Indians, a num 
ber killed on each side, and that the battle was still 
progressing. All was excitement ; the long roll was 
beaten; soldiers assembled and marched out a good 
distance before it was found to be a false alarm. This 
was the only man seen on the route. Far in advance 



of the troop rode the guide, the brave, stalwart Scotch 
man, George M Leod, unarmed save with a knife and 
an old sabre which he had swung when an officer in 
the Canadian war. 

Fifteen miles out of St. Peter s they came to a belt 
of woods. Here M Leod halted them and made a 
short address, in which he said that in those woods 
they should probably be attacked by Indians ; that 
they must not be discouraged by seeing their com 
rades fall around them; that there was no such thing 
as a retreat if a contest took place ; and that the only 
possible chance of safety was to stand their ground. 
The horsemen who were armed with guns were then 
ordered to dismount and leave their horses in charge 
of their companions, and then, with the twenty infan 
try men, they scoured the woods. 

The possibility of speedy death enforced itself upon 
the minds of all, and the imagination was busy in con 
jecturing what would be one s sensations as the fatal 
knife advanced to the throat, cut through the flesh, 
and severed the head from the body, and how one 
would look after it was done. Not an Indian, though, 
was to be seen. The same course was taken in pass 
ing through all the groves on the route. 

That night they camped on an eminence within 
eight miles of New Ulm, having made twenty miles. 
Just below was a deserted farm-house. Its inmates 
were evidently persons of taste. Pictures hung upon 
the walls. There were flowers in pots on the porch, 
and vines clambering over it. The table was set, ap 
parently for the evening meal ; the dishes were still 
upon it, and the half-tasted food, and the chairs pushed 
back, as if the occupants had suddenly jumped up on 


hearing the news, and rushed at once away. Near 
by was a garden, from which the men supplied them 
selves with vegetables, and at a distance beyond an 
oat-field, on which the crop lay bound in sheaves. 
These furnished food for the wearied horses. 

Barricading themselves as well as possible with rails 
from neighboring fences, they passed an anxious night. 
Every man was on guard, lying flat upon the ground. 
Jaded by four days continuous riding, and destitute of 
proper clothing and blankets to protect themselves 
against the cool night air apprehensive at every mo 
ment of an attack from the stealthy foe, and drenched 
with heavy rain, they longed impatiently for the morn 
ing light. 

Far out in the tall, wet grass were a number of 
pickets, who were instructed to shoot at the first man 
who approached, and then rush into camp, when all 
were to make the best defense possible. Their ex 
cited imaginations construed every noise as coming 
from the enemy. To one going the rounds a picket 
whispered, " There ! don t you hear that signal cry? 
they will soon attack us." It was nothing but the 
melancholy tuwhit of an owl in a neighboring tree. 

"Be still," said another, drawing him upon the 
ground, where he was lying with his gun cocked; " I 
have heard for some time the tramping of an Indian 
pony over there, and am just waiting to catch a 
glimpse of him before I shoot." It was the picket on 
the next beat walking to keep himself warm. Ex 
cited as most of the pickets were, there were two or 
three so dead to all sense of danger, through the fa 
tigue they had endured, that they went soundly to 
sleep, and snored so loud that they could be heard all 
over the camp. 


Just before dawn the bark of a dog was heard. 
Every one was then on the gui vive, as the Indians at 
tack in the gray of the morning, and the dog was sup 
posed to belong to them. Soon came the crowing of 
cocks from the deserted farm-houses -joyful sounds, as 
indicative of the coming morning ; melancholy sounds, 
as indicative of civilization which had fled far away. 
Presently the dog came into camp, wagging his tail 
with joy. He belonged to one of the settlers, and was 
glad to see white men once more. 

The dawn came without an attack, and hurriedly 
feeding the horses, and taking a few morsels to satisfy 
their hunger, they proceeded hastily, but with caution, 
on their way. The clouds had passed away ; the sun 
soon rode up bright in the blue sky ; the vegetation, 
" washed by the rain, and wiped with the sunbeam," 
glittered exuberant in the clear light, and 

"All the bugle breezes blew 
Reveille to the breaking morn." 

An hour and a half s brisk gallop brought them to 
the ferry, two miles below the town. This they ex 
pected to find guarded by Indians ; but not a person 
was to be seen. A pair of oxen, yoked together, were 
struggling in the river. The boat, half filled with wa 
ter, lay in the centre of the stream. Two men swam 
out and brought her to the shore. She was quickly 
bailed out and the troops ferried across. Cautiously 
they approached the town, expecting to cut their way 
through the beleaguering Indians, and to be received 
with the cheers and hospitality of the people ; but no 
sound greeted their ears. Soon they saw thickly scat 
tered around vast swollen carcasses of cows, and oxen, 
and horses, perforated with balls. These were fast 


approaching decomposition. They lay on their sides 
and backs, their legs pointing out stiff and straight in 
the air. Swarms of large black flies were settled on 
them, which started buzzing up at the approach of 
man, and the most sickening stench pervaded the at 
mosphere. Presently they came to the blackened re 
mains of the burned buildings, where the fire had not 
yet died out, and from which there flickered a faint 
yellow, unearthly smoke. Across the principal street 
lay the naked, headless body of a man, swollen like 
the cattle and blackened with the sun the head cut 
off and scalped, and tumbled some distance from the 
trunk. Just off the street were many new-made 
graves, with boards fixed at the head, with the names 
of the dead upon them. The doors of the unburned 
houses were standing wide ajar. Goods from the 
stores, and household utensils, and bedding, and fur 
niture were littered over the ground in endless confu 
sion. Buildings were loopholed for musketry, and 
the marks of bullets every where visible. 

The day had now become intensely hot ; no breath 
of air was stirring ; the sky was brazen, and over the 
devastated town, where the beauty of the winding riv 
er, and the riotous luxuriance of the foliage contrast 
ed so with the ruin around, there seemed to the awe- 
stricken beholder to rest an atmosphere peculiarly its 
own, such as one would fancy over a city devastated 
by the plague, or over the frightful spot where an 
earthquake had ingulfed a people. The loud voice 
of the captain broke the awful silence. " Gro up yon 
der street," he said to the twenty foot soldiers. They 
hesitated, for they were many of them residents of the 
place, and expected to find their friends dead in the 


houses. " Forward," again cried the captain, drawing 
his pistol ; " the first man who falters I will shoot him 
dead." Striking up a wild Grerman war-song, they 
rushed forward. Then the order was given the horse 
men to draw their sabres and charge up another street. 
This they did, yelling like demons, and startling the 
echoes with their infuriated shouts, until their prog 
ress was checked by the barricades. But there "was 
no living thing there except a few dogs, which came 
out yelping at their approach. Some thought they 
saw Indian tepees on an adjoining eminence, and the 
company rode briskly over, but found they were de 
ceived. The place was deserted by friend and foe. 

Helping themselves to blankets and cooking uten 
sils, the men retraced their course to St. Peter s, as 
their orders were positive to return at once. Before 
they left they buried the body they saw on their en 
trance alongside of the street. In crossing the ferry, 
one of the teams attached to the wagon loaded with 
the eatables backed off the boat. They struggled 
madly in the stream, and all efforts to save them 
proved unavailing. They were impressed from a 
poor fellow, who stood watching them with tears in 
his eyes. He had to wait many weary months before 
he received his pay. 

The hard service which the horses had endured 
made it necessary to walk them most of the distance, 
and darkness came on before they were half way to 
St. Peter s. Many went to sleep on their horses, and 
dreamed horrid dreams of the ghastly town they had 
just seen, and of perils around, and of anxious mourn 
ing relatives if death should meet them. From these 
they would be aroused, at every grove in which there 


might be a lurking foe, by the sharp order " Forward, 
double-quick," and away they would dash through 
the silent, solemn woods, their sabres rattling, and the 
loud rumble of the wagons, and the quick clatter of 
the horses feet sounding painfully afar. 

At midnight they reached St. Peter s, and found that 
Colonel Sibley had left that morning for Fort Kidge- 
ly with his command, and had ordered them to follow 
immediately on their return. Here they learned what 
had become of the people of New Ulm. On Monday, 
the 25th of August, and the day before they entered 
the place, the people, numbering about two thousand 
persons, comprising the women and children, the sick 
and the wounded, with a train of one hundred and fif 
ty-three wagons, had abandoned the town and gone 
to Mankato. The exhaustion of their ammunition ; 
the ravages of disease, arising from the decomposition 
of the dead animals and the close quarters into which 
they were penned ; the uncertainty of relief from be 
low, and the fate of Fort Eidgely and neighboring 
towns, with the consequent isolation of the place, seem 
ed, in the judgment of a council of the officers and 
soldiers, to necessitate this course. 

During Monday night one of their sentinels saw 
some one approaching the camp, who, to the challenge 
" Who goes there ?" responded "A Winnebago." The 
sentinel aimed his gun at the person, and snapped 
two caps upon it without being able to effect a dis 
charge, which was singular, as the piece was a Spring 
field musket a gun that hardly ever misses fire. It 
was a lucky incident, for the person was a white wom 
an, a fugitive from Lake Shetek. She answered that 
she was a Winnebago because she feared that it was 


an encampment of the Sioux. She had traveled sev 
enty miles without tasting a morsel of food, and car 
ried her baby on her back. The Indians had fired at 
her, and a ball had passed through her shoulder and 
carried away the child s finger. The remainder of 
her family had been killed. She said that the child 
was very fretful, and would often cry when its wound 
commenced to pam ; but that, whenever she saw In 
dians and crouched in the grass for concealment, the 
baby, as if by instinct, would keep perfectly quiet. 

Most of the fugitives had arrived at St. Peter s. 
Some forty of the wounded were placed in a large 
room, and the surgeons were at their work. The 
cries and groaning from the writhing forms were pite 
ous to hear. The Rev. Henry B. Whipple, the Epis 
copal Bishop of Minnesota, active in every good work, 
and whose heart is as kind and tender as that of a 
woman, had hastened hither, and was busily engaged 
in alleviating their sufferings. 

On Wednesday the troop which had visited ISTew 
Ulm started for the fort, forty-five miles distant. On 
their way they met a man in a wagon who had just 
been shot at by an Indian, who was probably a scout, 
and desirous of getting the man s horse to convey the 
news of Sibley s movement. He pointed out the 
marsh in which the Indian had concealed himself. 
They found where he had lain, and presently routed 
him out, but he made his way into the woods and es 
caped pursuit. The next day they reached the fort, 
having ridden two hundred miles since Friday. Col 
onel Sibley had arrived that morning, Colonel M Phaill, 
with a body of horsemen, having preceded him the 
previous night. On his way Colonel Sibley had bur- 


ied a man whose scalp Anderson s troop found. He 
had been killed on Monday or Tuesday. Duncan 
Kennedy, a messenger from the fort to St. Peter s, 
while groping his way in the night, had stumbled 
upon this body. There was a low mist over the 
ground, which prevented its being seen. The horri 
ble stench, and the sensation received from contact 
with the corpse, caused him almost to faint with diz 
ziness ; but, cocking both barrels of his gun, he stag 
gered on, and reached St. Peter s in safety. Nathan 
Myrick and Charles Mix, volunteer scouts from St. 
Peter s to the fort, had also seen this body days before, 
and shudderingly told of its appearance. The corpses 
of the two soldiers before spoken of were found near 
the fort and buried. 

Intrenchments were thrown up around the fort, and 
upon a neighboring elevation which commanded the 
camp. Cannon were placed in enfilading positions, 
and a strong guard continually kept up. The first 
two nights after the arrival of the forces shots were 
fired into the camp, and a general attack expected, 
but none came. It could never satisfactorily be de 
termined whether the shots were from Indians or from 
our own frightened outposts. 

The soldiers now rambled freely through the woods, 
which a few days before would have been attended 
with certain death. The numerous tents, the armed 
host and frowning cannon, were welcome to those who 
had been so long besieged. 

"The drum 

Beat ; merrily-blowing shrilled the martial fife ; 
And in the blast and bray of the long horn 
And serpent-throated bugle undulated 
The banner." 



Some of the men amused themselves by digging up 
a dead Indian, and using him as a mark for their ri 
fles. One of his ribs was cut out and preserved by 
an officer possessed of a morbid desire for a relic. 
Most of the mounted men had enlisted for no particular 
time ; they had left their business unattended to the 
merchant had closed his doors, and the farmer had 
abandoned his crops on the field; they had accom 
plished what they started for the relief of Fort Kidge- 
ly and New Ulm ; there was no prospect of a speedy 
conflict, and they insisted on returning home. Nine 
ty men, however, of the Cullen Guard, under Captain 
Anderson, still remained, and these were soon in 
creased by the arrival of forty -seven men under Cap 
tain Sterritt. On the 1st of September, Lieutenant 
Colonel Marshall, with a portion of the 7th regiment, 
joined the expedition. All that was now needed for 
a forward movement were ammunition and provi 
sions, but these did not arrive in sufficient quantity 
for many days afterward. Excitement soon came in 
most woful shape. 




ON Sunday, the last day of August, Captain Grant s 
company of infantry, seventy men of the Cullen 
Guard under Captain Anderson, and a detail of citi 
zens and other soldiers, together with seventeen team 
sters with teams, numbering in all about one hundred 
and fifty men, were dispatched, under command of 
Major Joseph K. Brown, to the Lower Agency, for the 
purpose of burying the dead, and ascertaining, if pos 
sible, the whereabouts of the enemy. 

The next evening, several of the citizens who had 
accompanied them returned, and informed Colonel Sib- 
ley that on that morning the cavalry and a small por 
tion of the infantry had crossed the river at the agen 
cy, buried the dead, and had gone some little distance 
above, and that there were no indications of the In 
dians having been there for several days. Captain 
Grant, with the infantry, had interred the dead on the 
Fort Eidgely side, including those at Beaver Creek, 
and had encamped during the afternoon on the same 
side of the river, where they were joined in the even 
ing by Major Brown and his detachment. 

The report that Major Brown, whose long residence 
among the Indians had made him a competent judge, 
could discover no indications of their presence in the 
neighborhood, caused the commander of the expedi 
tion to rest easy as to the safety of the detachment ; 


but on the morning of Wednesday the sentries sent 
word that they could hear the report of guns in the 
direction of the agency. The eminences around the 
camp were quickly crowded with anxious listeners. 
The wind was blowing strongly toward the direction 
from which the sound was stated to have proceeded, 
but by throwing one s self upon the ground, the rapid 
discharge of fire-arms could be distinctly heard. Col 
onel M Phaill, with fifty horsemen, Maj.or M Laren, 
with one hundred and five infantry, and Captain Mark 
Hendricks, with a mountain howitzer, were at once 
sent forward to their relief. The musketry still con 
tinued to be heard, and in a few hours the sullen boom 
of the howitzer indicated that the second detachment 
had become engaged. The tents were ordered to be 
struck and taken into the fort, and the entire com 
mand to put themselves at once in readiness for march 
ing. Just as the sun was setting, and in an incredibly 
short time after the order was given, the whole force 
was in motion. Accompanying it was Sergeant Jones, 
with two pieces of cannon. 

After a slow, weary march of thirteen miles, the 
darkness, which had now become intense, was lit up 
by a bright flash, followed by the quick roar of the 
howitzer ; and guided by its repeated discharges, to 
which our cannon answered, we found ourselves at 
the camp of the second detachment. During the aft 
ernoon they had advanced within three miles of 
where Major Brown was supposed to be ; had been 
attacked by a large force of Indians, and had thought 
it better to choose a position and wait for re-enforce 
ments. At early dawn the entire force was in motion. 
As we neared the head of Birch Coolie tents could be 


seen through the trees, and speculations were rife as 
to whether it was Brown s camp or that of the In 
dians, as they have tents very similar to our own. 

The Indians were soon seen swarming through a 
belt of woods toward our column from the direction 
of the tents, and quickly scattering along the line, 
waving their blankets and shouting defiance, as if to 
entice us into the woods in pursuit. Some were 
mounted, and one on a white horse was especially 
conspicuous, riding up and down the line, and encour 
aging his comrades. Failing to draw the forces into 
the wood, they advanced nearer, and, throwing them 
selves down behind eminences which would afford 
protection, poured a rapid fire into the column. Near 
ly all the balls flew too high or were spent, and only 
one of our men was wounded. Skirmishers were at 
once thrown out, who, with quick discharges, drove 
them back, and the bursting shells from the cannon 
soon put them to rout. They retreated rapidly down 
Birch Coolie, and crossed the river at the agency. 

The tents proved to be those of Major Brown, and 
the scene presented was most horrible. The camp 
was surrounded by the dead bodies of the horses, over 
ninety in number, perforated with balls. The tents 
were riddled with bullets, as many as one hundred 
and four being found in a single one. Ditches were 
dug between the tents, and the horses and the dirt 
piled on them so as to form a breastwork. Within 
this circuit lay thirteen of the soldiers dead, and a 
number wounded, many of them mortally, and a few 
feet distant were more dead bodies. Among the 
wounded were Major Brown, Captain Anderson, 
Agent Galbraith, and Captain Kedfield, of Colonel 


Sibley s staff. The groanings of the wounded could 
be heard a long distance off. William Irvine, of 
west St. Paul, presented a terrible spectacle. He had 
been shot in the head, and his brains were oozing over 
his face ; and yet he lived for a number of hours, his 
breathing heavy and painfully distinct. 

I have already stated that they had camped here 
on Monday evening. The spot was chosen because 
of its accessibility to wood and water, and but little 
reference to an attack had in view, as it was supposed 
that no Indians were in the neighborhood. In fact, a 
worse spot to repel an attack could not have been 
found. It was within gunshot of the head of the wood 
ed ravine on one side, and of an elevation on the oth 
er, from behind which an attacking party could com 
mand the camp with safety to themselves. In the 
afternoon, just after the camp was pitched, some one 
thought he heard several guns fired, but little atten 
tion was paid to the statement. Ten sentinels were 
placed around the camp, with orders to keep a strict 
look-out, and to give the alarm at once in case of any 
suspicious appearance. The remainder, fatigued with 
the hard marching which they had endured for the 
past week, and with the labors of the day, for they 
had buried fifty-four victims of the outbreak, were 
soon wrapped in profound slumber, little dreaming of 
being prematurely aroused from it. 

Just as it began to grow a little gray in the east, 
one of the sentinels thought he saw something creep 
ing toward him in the grass. He fired at it, and before 
the echoes of the report had died away, a volley from 
three hundred guns, within a hundred yards of the 
slumbering camp, raked the tents " fore and aft." For 


more than three hours this firing was kept up with 
scarcely an intermission, and in that fatal three hours 
some twenty men were killed or mortally wounded, 
some sixty severely wounded, and over ninety horses 
killed. The Indian guns were mostly double-bar 
reled, and there was a perfect rain of lead upon the 
little camp ; the tents were riddled with balls, and the 
scene beggared description. After the effect of the 
first fire was partially over the men commenced to 
" dig," and dig they did with one pick, three spades, 
a couple of old axes, knives, bayonets, and sticks, and 
by four o clock P.M. they had holes enough in the 
ground to protect them from shooting at a distance. 
When they were relieved by Colonel Sibley they had 
been thirty-one hours without food or water, with but 
thirty rounds of ammunition to the man when they 
commenced, and with less than five when relieved.* 
This was the most severe battle of the war in propor 
tion to the number engaged. Twenty-three men were 
killed or mortally wounded, forty -five more severely 
wounded, and the remainder had been hit or received 
bullet-holes in their garments. One horse alone sur 
vived a powerful stallion, who had been impressed 
at Henderson, and he was wounded. 

Captain Grant had found a woman the day before 
near Beaver Creek, who, though badly wounded by a 
discharge of buckshot, had made her escape from the 
massacre near Patterson s Eapids. She had been four 
teen days without seeing a human being, and had eat 
en nothing during this time but a few berries, obtain 
ed by dragging herself through the briers. When 
found she was nearly dead, and in such an exhausted 

* Agent Galbraith s Report. 


state as to be almost unable to speak, and could give 
but little account of herself or her sufferings. She 
was lying in a high wagon in the centre of the camp 
during the attack, and, strange to say, received no in 
jury, though a number of balls passed through the 
wagon from different directions. God would not 
break the bruised reed. 

Major Brown was correct in his conclusion that the 
Indians had left the Lower Agency several days be 
fore. On Thursday, four days after the last attack on 
New Ulm, hearing of Sibley s march to the fort, and 
anxious to place their families in safety, they had 
moved up above the Yellow Medicine Eiver. Short 
ly after, an Indian, who had been getting in his traps 
back of New Ulm, told them that he had been within 
view of the town, and that it appeared to him to be 
deserted. On hearing this, a war party was at onco 
organized to proceed to New Ulm and get what plun 
der they wanted, and then to attack St. Peter s and 

Early on Monday morning three hundred and forty- 
nine warriors, with a long train of wagons to carry 
their plunder, started down the river on the reserva 
tion side, under Gray Bird, of Crow s band, a Farmer 
Indian, and speaker of the Soldiers Lodge. One hund 
red and ten more, under Crow, followed in an hour, 
with the intention of joining them, but crossed over 
the river at Yellow Medicine to meet any troops who 
might be coming up on that side to attack their fami 
lies. They changed their minds after they had march 
ed five or six miles, and went toward the Big Woods, 
in the neighborhood of Acton. 

When Gray Bird s force arrived at the Lower Agen- 


cy they caught sight of Major Brown s horsemen wind 
ing up the ravine to Grant s camp. Eunners were 
sent over to watch their movements, and ascertain 
whether they were moving toward Yellow Medicine 
or the fort. When these returned and informed them 
that the whites had encamped, their joy knew no 
bounds, and they at once resolved on the attack which 

Had we sent out spies upon the movements of the 
Indians at Yellow Medicine, the result would have 
been different, for we might have surprised both par 
ties, perhaps, with great slaughter. Colonel Sibley, in 
his report of the battle, says: "That the command 
was not destroyed before I arrived to rescue them 
from their perilous situation may be ascribed chiefly 
to the coolness of nerve displayed by Major Brown 
and Captain Anderson, both of whom were severely 
wounded." Captains Grant and Kedfield, and Lieu 
tenants Turnbull, Gillam, and Baldwin, behaved with 
great gallantry, as did all the men during the trying 
ordeal. After the dead were buried the command re 
turned to the fort, carrying the wounded with them. 

Disastrous as this affair was, it saved New Ulm from 
total destruction, and Mankato and St. Peter s, which 
were now left almost defenseless, from attacks which 
would necessarily have been attended with great loss 
of life and property. 




LITTLE CROW S party to the Big "Woods traveled 
thirty miles on Monday, and camped near Acton. 
Twenty of them were mounted, and Little Crow rode 
in his own wagon with Jo. Campbell, a mixed blood, 
who acted as his driver and private secretary. Bap- 
tiste Campbell, Jo. s brother, Louis la Belle, and Maga 
(the Swan), all half-breeds, were also with the party. 
They traveled together until noon of the next day, 
when a quarrel arose. Little Crow, with thirty -four 
Indians and the half-breeds, started for Cedar Mills to 
get flour, after which they were to return to Yellow 
Medicine. They camped a mile and a half from Ac 
ton. The other party determined to make a raid 
through the country to St. Cloud, and camped within 
half a mile of Crow, without either being aware that 
night of the presence of the other, or of their proxim 
ity to any white men. 

There was a party of white men, equally ignorant 
of the presence of these Indians, encamped at Acton, 
about a mile distant, in the yard of Howard Baker, 
one of the victims of the outrage which preceded the 
massacre. They were enlisted men and volunteer mi 
litia from Hennepin County, numbering in all about 
seventy-five men, under the command of Captain 
Richard Strout, of company B of the 9th Minnesota 
regiment. In the night several scouts came through 


from Forest City, informing them that on the preced 
ing morning Captain Whitcomb had been attacked 
near that place by Indians (who belonged to another 
party than that just referred to), and to be on the look 
out for them, and to hurry to the defense of the town. 
Early in the morning they started toward Hutchin- 
son, intending to go from there to Forest City, as the 
direct road was more dangerous. 

They passed by the larger body of Indians unper- 
ceived. As they approached Crow s camp, one of his 
Indians caught sight of them, and told the others 
there were three hundred whites coming. Then the 
Indians sent the half-breeds with the horses into the 
woods, and stripped themselves for battle. Just then 
the other party of Indians discovered the white men, 
and followed them up, whooping and firing. Crow s 
party appeared in their front, and the whites charged 
through them, firing as they advanced, and made their 
way to Hutchinson, closely followed by the Indians 
for four or five miles, losing nine horses, and several 
wagons containing arms, ammunition, cooking uten 
sils, tents, etc., together with three killed and fifteen 

Among the killed was Edwin Stone, a respectable 
merchant of Minneapolis. He was on foot when 
wounded, and endeavored to get into a wagon, but 
fell backward exclaiming, u My God, they will butch 
er me." Little Crow s son, a boy between fifteen and 
sixteen, ran up and shot him, and another Indian rid 
ing past jumped off his horse, sunk his tomahawk 
into his brain with a force that made him bound from 
the ground, leaped on his horse again, and joined in 
the pursuit. The wadding from the gun set Stone s 


clothes on fire, and one of the half-breeds endeavored 
to extinguish it by rubbing it with bunches of grass, 
which were afterward found near the body. 

That night they encamped near Cedar Mills, and 
next morning advanced to Hutchinson, which they 
reached about ten o clock. They burned a large por 
tion of the town, and attacked Strout s company and 
others in the fort. Oma-ni-sa, a young Indian, called 
out in English to the garrison to come on the open 
field and fight like men. The whites came forth in 
squads and drove them back without the loss of any 
of their number. One of the Indians was severely 
wounded. He was carried as far as Lac qui Parle, 
where he died. 

On the preceding day (the 3d), about two o clock in 
the morning, the Indians, against whom Strout had 
been warned, numbering some fifty warriors, attacked 
Forest City, wounded two men, burned several build 
ings, and carried off a great deal of plunder. 

The Hutchinson party, after skirmishing most of 
the day around that place, returned to their camping- 
place near Cedar Mills. They were joined during the 
night by the party who had attacked Forest City the 
preceding day. One of these, Kah-shak-a-wa-kan, 
brought Mrs. Adams as a prisoner. He had taken her 
child with her, but afterward murdered it in her pres 

Next morning the Indians again divided and re 
turned home Little Crow, with his party, by way of 
the Lower Agency, which he reached that night. 

One of the scouts, while riding along, was startled 
by his horse jumping aside. He looked for the cause, 
and saw a white man lying in a pile of grass, which 


he had pulled up and heaped around him for conceal 
ment. Close to him were ears of green corn partially 
eaten. He was a young man ; his hands were small ; 
his hair was long and fair ; but his garments were tat 
tered and torn with long journey ings, and the face 
was haggard and pale. He was asleep, with his cheek 
resting on his hand ; so soundly asleep, so intensely 
engaged, perhaps, in happy dreams for thus, some 
times, does our nature compensate for the sufferings 
of our wakeful hours that the trampling of the In 
dian s horse did not arouse him. "What do you 
here, my friend ?" sounded in his ear in the loud voice 
of the savage. The sleeper raised his head and gazed 
with startled apprehension in the face of his threaten 
ing foe, whose presence he had shunned with bated 
breath for many a weary league ; and before that ex 
pression had time even to change, the whirring axe 
dashed out the brains which gave it life. Then the 
murderer, dismounting, with his knife cut off the 
head ; but even then that startled look did not change, 
for death had frozen it there, and nothing but corrup 
tion s effacing hand could sweep it away. The shud 
dering half-breeds who followed afterward passed by 
on the other side, and Crow said, " Poor fellow ! his 
life ought to have been spared ; he was too starved to 
have done us harm." But they left it there unbur- 
ied, in its pool of blood, staring upward through the 
gathering darkness with its fixed, wild eyes, alone in 
the vast desolation, ringed by distant skies, there to 
remain until Nature, by storm and frost, should trans 
form it to original clay, and by the blessed sunlight 
" reconcile it to herself again with the sweet oblivion 
of flowers." 


Fort Abercrombie had been in a continued state of 
siege by the Sissetons since the 25th of August, and 
communication with it cut off, but the remainder of 
the country had been but little visited by the Indians 
since they left New Ulm on the 24th of August ; and 
this fact, and the presence of the force on the frontier, 
had quieted the fears of the people, and induced many 
to return to their homes ; but the attacks at Birch 
Coolie, Acton, Hutchinson, Forest City, and the mas 
sacre of citizens at Hilo, twenty miles above St. Pe 
ter s, and in the Butternut Valley, far within Sibley s 
lines, occurring on the 2d, 3d, and 4th of September, 
threw the whole country again into the most intense 
excitement. Portions even of Eamsey County was 
depopulated, and citizens on the outskirts of St. Paul 
moved into the interior of the city. General Sibley s 
family, living in Mendota, went one night to Fort 
Snelling for protection. Far and wide the wild news 
spread, like the wrath of fire racing on the wings of 
the wind.* 

* On the 3d of September Fort Abercrombie was attacked in fore 3 
by several hundred Sissetons and Yanktonais, 







COLONEL SIBLEY was compelled to remain many 
days inactive at Fort Eidgely for want of ammunition 
and supplies ; nor did the Indians commit any extens 
ive outrages in the mean time, for the reason that a 
correspondence was being carried on for the delivery 
of the captives and a cessation of hostilities. 

Little Crow, could he have followed his own incli 
nations, would have been willing, even at the com 
mencement of the outbreak, to have made terms of 
peace. He did not join in the war as a matter of 
choice, but was forced into it by circumstances, as has 
already been shown. His reputation was that of a 
great liar, but he was not naturally a cruel-hearted 
man. It is said that many an Indian, who went by 
his door without sufficient covering, received from the 
chief a blanket, though he had to take it from his own 
back. He rejoiced, it is true, that the traders and em 
ployes of the government had been killed, because he 
considered that they had been the cause of all the 
troubles of his people, but it is not believed that he 
was guilty of the murder of any unarmed white per 
son. He informed Chaska of the peril of his friend 
Spencer, and tried to save Myrick s life, and, at the 
risk of his own, assisted Charles Blair to escape. He 
openly opposed the slaughter of unarmed settlers and 
their families. At the agency the next day after the 


massacre commenced, assembling his warriors togeth 
er in council, he addressed them as follows : 

" Soldiers and young men, you ought not to kill 
women and children. Your consciences will reproach 
you for it hereafter, and make you weak in battle. 
You were too hasty in going into the country. You 
should have killed only those who have been robbing 
us so long. Hereafter make war after the manner of 
white men." 

Desirous as he might have been for the cessation 
of a hopeless contest, he dared not broach the subject 
in the beginning to his braves. The plunder they 
had acquired, the numerous bloody deeds they had 
committed, and the belief of success infused them with 
fierce joy, and determined them upon a continuance 
of the war. After the defeat at Fort Eidgely and 
New Ulm, the chief was more thoroughly convinced 
than before of the certainty of defeat ; and Joseph 
Campbell told the writer that at his (Crow s) dicta 
tion, on their way to the Big Woods, on the 1st of 
September, he wrote letters to Governor Kamsey and 
Colonel Sibley, requesting a cessation of hostilities 
and a treaty of settlement, and that these letters Crow 
exhibited to his braves, and that they would not al 
low them to be sent. 

From the first there was trouble between the Upper 
and Lower Indians. Besides the feeling of semi-hos 
tility which exists between separate communities, and 
especially among Indians, who are always quarreling 
with one another, the pride of the former was hurt by 
the failure of the others to counsel with them before 
commencing the war. There was another ground of 
complaint more serious than this. The latter had ac- 


quired a large amount of plunder before the Upper 
Indians came down, and their chiefs sent word if they 
would join in the war there an equal distri 
bution of the spoils. This promise the braves of the 
Lower Indians refused to carry out, on the ground 
that it would be unfair to share with those who had 
clone nothing that which they had periled their lives 
to obtain. They did not surrender for a long time 
even that which belonged to the half-breed relatives 
of the others, nor until a " Soldiers Lodge" was form 
ed, and demanded it in an interview which seriously 
threatened a bloody termination. 

Prominent among the disaffected was Paul Ma-za- 
ku-ta-ma-ne, a civilized Indian, and head deacon of 
Mr. Kiggs s church. Paul was a man of great orator 
ical powers and unflinching nerve. He was the chief 
speaker of the Sissetons. Like Crow, and other intel 
ligent and aged men, he believed in the hopelessness 
of the contest ; nor was he at all chary in so expressing 
himself, for he had the protection of his people, who 
had not been so deeply implicated in the troubles as 
the others. At a council at the Lower Agency, soon 
after the Yellow Medicine Indians came down, Paul 
made the following speech to the Lower Indians : 

" Warriors and young men ! I am an Indian, and 
you are Indians, and there should be no secrets be 
tween us. Why, then, did you not tell us that you 
were going to kill the whites ? All of us will have 
to suffer for what you have done. The preachers 
have told us that there is to be an end of the world. 
The end of the world is near at hand for the nation 
of the Dakotas. Every Indian knows that we can 
not live without the aid of the white man. Why, 



then, have you acted like children ? You have spok 
en, too, with false tongues. Two days ago you sent a 
message by Sha-ko-pee, one of your chiefs, that you 
had laid aside for us half of your plunder. We have 
come to get it, and we see nothing. If you choose to 
act by yourselves in this way, every man must do the 
same, and henceforth I shall think and look out for 

Little Crow was statesman enough to know that a 
main lever to the procurement of peace was the pros 
ecution of a formidable war ; and he was Indian 
enough to desire, if peace was not obtained, to inflict 
as much injury as possible upon his opponents. Pol 
icy, therefore, required that the Upper Indians should 
be encouraged and conciliated, and their aid secured. 

To enforce his ideas he had a tongue of most per 
suasive power. "I am an orator!" said Bed Jacket, 
proudly ; " I was born an orator !" Not less sensible 
of his gift was the Sioux chieftain. At the councils 
years before, when other Indians were endeavoring to 
make themselves understood, the knowledge of his 
own superior ability would manifest itself in his coun 
tenance, and the superbly contemptuous manner with 
which he would wrap his blanket around him and 
stride away was a subject of remark among the white 
lookers-on. The Eev. Dr. Williamson, the oldest liv 
ing missionary among the Sioux, has stated that, 
though he knew Little Crow s complicity in the war, 
he would almost have been afraid to have met him, 
for fear he would have convinced him of his spotless 
innocence. Paul s speech produced some effect among 
his people, but it was done away with by Crow, who 
addressed them at length, telling them that they could 


easily conquer the whites ; that there was plenty more 
plunder in the country ; and that all they had to do 
was to persevere, and they could camp the next win 
ter with their squaws in St. Paul. He then read to 
them a letter which Jo. Campbell, at his dictation, had 
written to the English at Pembina. The letter said : 

"Our fathers have told us that when the English 
fought the Americans the Sioux helped them, and 
captured a cannon, which they gave to them, and 
which was called the Little Dakota. Do you recol 
lect this ? We have helped you when you were in 
trouble. My own grandfather periled his life in your 
cause. Now we are in difficulty, and want that can 
non and your assistance. "We shall soon send men to 
council with y(m. and to bring the cannon ; and we 
want you also to give us plenty of powder and lead. 
With these we can defeat the Americans." 

Colonel Sibley, on leaving the battle-ground at 
Birch Coolie with a view of obtaining the release of 
the captives, had attached to a stake a communication 
in the following words : 

"If Little Crow has any proposition to make, let him send a half- 
breed to me, and he shall be protected in and out of camp. 

" H. H. SIBLEY, Col. Com g Mil. Ex n." 

This was found and delivered to Crow on his re 
turn from Hutchinson, and he at once dispatched, with 
the consent of his braves, whom the Birch Coolie af 
fair had disheartened, two mixed bloods under a flag 
of truce, with a letter, of which the following is sub 
stantially a copy : 

" Yellow Medicine, September 7th, 1862. 

"DEAR SIR, For what reason we have commenced this war I 
will tell you. It is on account of Major Galbraith. We made a 


treaty with the government, and beg for what we do get, and can t 
get that till our children are dying with hunger. It is the traders 
who commenced it. Mr. A. J. Myrick told the Indians that they 
would eat grass or dirt. Then Mr. Forbes told the Lower Sioux that 
they were not men. Then Roberts was working with his friends to 
defraud us out of our moneys. If the young braves have pushed the 
white men, I have done this myself. So I want you to let Governor 
Ramsey know this. I have a great many prisoners, women and chil 
dren. It ain t all our fault. The Winnebagoes were in the engage 
ment, and two of them were killed. I want you to give me an an 
swer by the bearer. All at present. 

Yours truly, Friend Little x Crow." 

Addressed, " Gov. H. H. Sibley, Esq., Fort Ridgely." 

By these messengers Colonel Sibley sent the follow 
ing reply : 

" LITTLE CROW, You have murdered many of our people without 
any sufficient cause. Return me the prisoners kinder a flag of truce, 
and I will talk with you then like a man. 

"H. H. SIBLEY, Col. com g Mil. Exp n." 

On the 12th of September, the same messengers who 
had appeared on the previous occasion made a second 
entry into camp as bearers of dispatches from the 
same source as before. The following is a literal copy 
of the communication : 

" Red Iron Tillage, or May awaken. 
" To lion H H Sibley 

"we have in mawakanton band One Hundred and fifty five pres- 
oners not includ the Sisiton & warpeton presoners, then we are wait 
ing for the Sisiton what we are going to do whit the prisoners they 
are coming doun. they are at Lake quiparle now. The words that 
il to the govrment il want to here from him also, and I want to know 
from you as a friend what way that il can make peace for my people 
in regard to prisoners they fair with our chilldren or our self jist as 
well as us Your truly friend LITTLE CROW 

" per A J Campbell" 

To this communication Colonel Sibley penned the 


following reply, and sent it forward by the messengers 
of Little Crow upon their return to the encampment 
of that chief: 

" Head-quarters Military Expedition, September 12, 1862. 
" To Little Crow, Sioux Chief: 

"I have received your letter of to-day. You have not done as I 
wished in giving up to me the prisoners taken by your people. It 
would be better for you to do so. I told you I had sent your former 
letter to Governor Ramsey, but I have not yet had time to receive a 
reply. You have allowed your young men to commit nine murders 
since you wrote your first letter. That is not the way for you to make 
peace. H. H. SIBLEY, Col. com g Mil. Exp n." 

At the same time that the last letter was received 
from Little Crow, Mr. Eobertson, one of the messen 
gers from that chief, brought privately and in a clan 
destine manner the following note from Wabashaw 
and Taopee, one of the Farmer Indians : 

"Mayawakan, September 10th, 1862. 
" Col. II. II. Sibley, Fort Ridgely : 

"DEAR SIR, You know that Little Crow has been opposed to me 
in every thing that our people have had to do with the whites. He 
has been opposed to every thing in the form of civilization or Christi 
anity. I have always been in favor of, and of late years have done 
every thing of the kind that has been offered to us by the government 
and other good white people he has now got himself into trouble 
that we know he can never get himself out of, and he is trying to in 
volve those few of us that are still the friend of the American in the 
murder of the poor whites that have been settled in the border, but 
I have been kept back by threats that I should be killed if I did any 
thing to help the whites ; but if you will now appoint some place 
for me to meet you, myself and the few friends that I have will get 
all the prisoners that we can, and with our family go to whatever 
place you will appoint for us to meet. I would say further that the 
mouth of the Red-Wood, Candiohi, on the north side of the Minne 
sota, or the head of the Cotton-wood River one of these places, I 
think, would be a good place to meet. Return the messenger as quick 
as possible. We have not much time to spare. 

"Your true friends, WABASHAW, 



To tliis letter Colonel Sibley returned by the same 
messenger the following answer : 

u Head-quarters Military Indian Expedition, September 12th, 1862. 
" To Wabashaw and Taopee : 

"I have received your private message. I have come up here 
with a large force to punish the murderers of my people. It is not 
my purpose to injure any innocent person. If you and others who 
have not been concerned in the murders and expeditions will gather 
yourselves, with all the prisoners, on the prairie in full sight of my 
troops, and when a white flag is displayed by you a white flag will be 
hoisted in my camp, and then you can come forward and place your 
self under my protection. My troops will be all mounted in two days 
time, and in three days from this day I expect to march. There 
must be no attempt to approach my column or my camp except in 
open day, and with a flag of truce conspicuously displayed. I shall 
be glad to receive all true friends of the whites, with as many prison 
ers as they can bring, and I am powerful enough to crush all who at 
tempt to oppose my march, and to punish those who have washed 
their hands in innocent blood. I sign myself the friend of all who 
were friends of your great American Father. 

"H. H. SIBLET, Colonel commanding Expedition." 

"YVabashaw and Taopee were Lower Indians, and 
dared not do any thing openly in favor of a delivery 
of the prisoners ; but there began now a fierce con 
troversy on the subject between a part of the Upper 
Indians, headed by Paul, and the others. The Lower 
Indians saw from Colonel Sibley s letters that he de 
manded an unconditional surrender of the captives, 
and that he would not make terms by which any of 
the guilty might escape, and, knowing that they were 
all deeply implicated, determined that the captives 
should share whatever fate they suffered. Paul 
thought, if the Upper Indians could get possession of 
the captives and deliver them to the whites, most of 
them would escape with impunity. He sought to de 
tach them from the others, and make them a unit 


on this point, and, to accomplish it, cunningly fanned 
the elements of separation which already existed. 

While the discussion proceeded, the Lower Indians, 
in order to counsel about the matter, made a feast, and 
invited the others to attend. Nearly all the Annuity 
Sioux were present. The following speeches were 
made. Mazza-wa-mnu-na, of Shakopee s band, a Low 
er Indian, made the first speech. 

" You men who are in favor of leaving us and de 
livering up the captives, talk like children. You be 
lieve, if you do so, the whites will think you have act 
ed as their friends, and will spare your lives. They 
will not, and you ought to know it. You say that 
the whites are too strong for us, and that we will all 
have to perish. Well, by sticking together and fight 
ing the whites, we will live, at all events, for a few 
days, when, by the course you propose, we would 
die at once. Let us keep the prisoners with us, and 
let them share our fate. . That is all the advice I have 
to give." 

Kda-in-yan-ka, Wabashaw s son-in-law, and a sol 
dier of Crow s band, spoke next as follows : 

" I am for continuing the war, and am opposed to 
the delivery of the prisoners. I have no confidence 
that the whites will stand by any agreement they 
make if we give them up. Ever since we treated 
with them their agents and traders have robbed and 
cheated us. Some of our people have been shot, 
some hung ; others placed upon floating ice and 
drowned ; and many have been starved in their pris 
ons. It was not the intention of the nation to kill 
any of the whites until after the four men returned 
from Acton and told what they had done. When 


they did this, all the young men became excited, and 
commenced the massacre. The older ones would 
have prevented it if they could, but since the treaties 
they have lost all their influence. We may regret 
what has happened, but the matter has gone too far to 
be remedied. We have got to die. Let us, then, kill 
as many of the whites as possible, and let the prison 
ers die with us." 

Paul was the next speaker. A great many Indians 
were present ; and as he was anxious that all should 
hear, he stood up on a barrel, and spoke in a loud 
voice as follows : 

"I am going to tell you what I- think, and what I 
am ready to do, now and hereafter. You, M dewa- 
kanton and Wahpekuta Indians, have been with the 
white men a great deal longer than the Upper Indians, 
yet I, who am an Upper Indian, have put on white 
men s clothes, and consider myself now a white mar,. 
I was very much surprised to hear that you had been 
killing the settlers, for you have had the advice of the 
preachers for so many years. Why did you not tell 
us you were going to kill them ? I ask you the ques^ 
tion again, Why did you not tell us ? You make no 
answer. The reason was, if you had done so, and we 
had counseled together, you would not have been able 
to have involved our young men with you. When 
we older men heard of it we were so surprised that we 
knew not what to do. By your involving our young 
men without consulting us you have done us a great 
injustice. I am now going to tell you something you 
don t like. You have gotten our people into this dif 
ficulty through your incitements to its rash young 
soldiers without a council being called and our con 
sent obtained, and I shall use all the means I can to 


get them out of it without reference to you. I am 
opposed to their continuing this war, or of committing 
farther outrages, and I warn them not to do it. I 
have heard a great many of you say that you were 
brave men, and could whip the whites. This is a lie. 
Persons who will cut women and children s throats 
are squaws and cowards. You say the whites are not 
brave. You will see. They will not, it is true, kill 
women and children, as you have done, but they will 
fight you who have arms in your hands. I am 
.ashamed of the way that you have acted toward the 
captives. Fight the whites if you desire to, but do it 
like brave men. Give me the captives, and I will 
carry them to Fort Eidgely. I hear one of you say 
that if I take them there the soldiers will shoot me. 
I will take the risk. I am not afraid of death, but I 
am opposed to the way you act toward the prisoners. 
If any of you have the feelings of men, you will give 
them up. You may look as fierce at me as you please, 
but I shall ask you once, twice, and ten times to de 
liver these women and children to their friends. That 
is all I have to say." 

White Lodge s eldest son, one of those engaged in 
the Lake Shetek massacre, was the fourth speaker. 
He said : 

" I am an Upper Indian, but I am opposed to what 
Paul advises. I hope our people will not agree with 
him. "We must all die in battle, or perish with hun 
ger, and let the captives suffer what we suffer." 

This was all that was said in this council. Paul 
had no other speaker to assist him, and the Lower In 
dians would not consent that the captives should be 



Paul went home and communicated the result to 
those who coincided with him, and by their advice he 
killed an ox and invited the Indians to another feast 
and council. They met, and a similar discussion took 
place, in which Paul, in addition to what he had for 
merly stated, said that the captives should not be tak 
en into the battle, as some of them threatened ; that 
if he had to die, as they said he must, he would die in 
endeavoring to deliver them ; and that, as one third 
of the Upper Indians would stand by him in this, they 
had better deliver them, if they desired to prevent a 
quarrel among themselves. 

The danger of collision was imminent. Had it oc 
curred, the prisoners would all have been murdered. 
The Upper Indians, who were opposed to a junction 
with the Lower ones, formed a Soldiers Lodge, and 
commanded them not to proceed any farther into 
their country ; and at Bed Iron s village, that chief, 
and a hundred and fifty Sissetons on horseback, form 
ed a line in front of their column, and fired their guns 
off as a signal to halt. They were afraid that they 
were going through to Big Stone Lake, and leave 
them to stand the brunt of the rage of the whites ; for 
they had said at first that they would make a stand at 
Yellow Medicine, and die there if necessary. 

On being assured that they would not go as far as 
Lac qui Parle, and giving Eed Iron s men some of 
their plunder, the chief allowed them to camp at a 
spot which he selected. The plunder was at first re 
fused, and only a small portion turned over, and that 
under a threat from Ked Iron and his men, that un 
less it was done, when Standing Buffalo, who was on 
his w&y, came down with the other Sissetons, they 



would join together and take the prisoners by force, 
and make peace with the whites, and leave the others 
to shift for themselves. 

At this time the prisoners stood in great peril, be 
cause many of the Lower Indians were in favor of 
killing them to remove the inducement they offered 
to the others to separate and make peace. As an 
additional argument, they said that the whites had 
starved them before, and that there was no use to 
take the bread from their own mouths to feed so many 


When Standing Buffalo and his warriors arrived, 
another council was called. The Sissetons were 
ranged on one side, the Wahpetons on another, and 
the Lower Indians bj themselves. Paul was the first 
speaker. He said : 

" Soldiers and young men of the Sissetons ! I told 
the Lower Indians my mind before your arrival, and 
am now going to repeat what I have said in your 
hearing. First of all, they commenced war upon the 
whites without letting us know any thing about it. 
The Sissetons didn t hear of it until several days aft- 
erward. Why should we assist them? We are un 
der no obligations to do so. I am part Sisseton and 
part Wahpeton, and I know that they have never in 
terested themselves in our affairs. When we went to 
war against the Chippeways they never helped us. 

" Lower Indians ! You are fools. We want noth 
ing to do with you. We belong to the same nation, 
but you started the massacre without telling us about 
it, and have bribed our young men to kill the whites, 
and thought that by so doing you could involve us 
all in the same trouble. You are mistaken. You 
must give up the prisoners, or we will fight you. I 
and a hundred others have made up our minds to 
wait here for the soldiers." 

Some of the younger Indians, who were fully arm 
ed, made so many angry demonstrations here that ifc 
was feared that the council would have a bloody term 
ination ; but they were persuaded to leave the grounds, 
and, after quiet was restored, Paul continued: 

" I want to know from you Lower Indians whether 
you were asleep or crazy. In fighting the whites, you 
are fighting the thunder and lightning. You will all 


be killed off. You might as well try to bail out the 
waters of the Mississippi as to whip them. You say 
you can make a treaty with the British government. 
That is impossible. Have you not yet come to your 
senses? They are also white men, and neighbors 
and friends to the soldiers. They are ruled by a pet 
ticoat, and she has the tender heart of a squaw. What 
will she do for men who have committed the murders 
you have? Your young men have brought a great 
misfortune upon us. Let them go and fight the sol 
diers. But you, who want to live and not die, come 
with me. I am going to shake hands with the whites. 
I hear some of your young men talking very loud, 
and boasting that you have killed so many women 
and children. That s not brave ; it is cowardly. Go 
and fight the soldiers. That s brave. You dare not. 
"When you see their army coming on the plains, you 
will faint with fright. You will throw down your 
arms, and fly in one direction and your women in an 
other, and this winter you will all starve. You will 
see that my words will come true. Go back from 
the lands of the Sissetons. They have not buffaloes 
enough for themselves, and can not feed you. Fight 
the whites on your reservation if you are not afraid 
of them. Make your boasts good, and stop your lies." 

Here the excitement of the Lower Indians became 
so great that some of them cried out, " Kill him ! kill 
him!" But Paul, unfaltering, continued in a loud 
voice : 

" Some of you say you will kill me. Bluster away. 
I am not afraid. I am not a woman, and I shall not 
die alone. There are three hundred around me whom 
you will also have to kill before you have finished." 



Wabashaw s son-in-law, Kda-in-yan-ka, made the 
next speech. He said : 

"We all heard what Paul said the other day, and 
we have had several councils to decide what to do, 
but have arrived at no conclusion, and we desire a lit 
tle longer time to think over it. Before the treaties 
the old men determined these questions, but now I 
have no influence, nor have the chiefs. The young 
soldiers must decide it." 

Wakin-yan-to-ci-ye, of Crow s band, was the next 
speaker. He said : 

" You have asked for the prisoners several times, 
and you must make up your minds not to ask any 
more. We are determined that the captives shall die 
with us." 

Mah-pi-ya-na-xka-xka, a soldier of the Lac qui 
Parle band, made the next speech. He spoke as fol 

" I am an Upper Indian, and have heard what Paul 
has said, and do not agree with him. He is for giv 
ing up the captives and making peace. It can not be 
done. We have gone too far. Since the treaties, 
when did we do the least thing, either in stealing cat 
tle or in harming a white man, that we did not get 
punished for? Now the Indians have been killing 
men, women, and children, how many God only 
knows, and if we give ourselves up we shall all be 
hung. I have heard that there were four stores full 
of goods for us here. I come and find nothing. How 
is this?" 

Little Crow was the next speaker. He said : 

" Paul wants to make peace. It is impossible to do 
so, if we desired. Did we ever do the most trifling 


thing, and the whites not hang us? Now we have 
been killing them by hundreds in Dakota, Minnesota, 
and Iowa, and I know that if they get us into their 
power they will hang every one of us. As for me, I 
will kill as many of them as I can, and fight them till 
I die. Do not think you will escape. There is not 
a band of Indians from the Bed- Wood Agency to Big 
Stone Lake that has not had some of its members em 
broiled in the war. I tell you we must fight and per 
ish together. A man is a fool and a coward who 
thinks otherwise, and who will desert his nation at 
such a time. Disgrace not yourselves by a surrender 
to those who will hang you up like dogs, but die, if 
die you must, with arms in your hands, like warriors 
and braves of the Dakota." 

Standing Buffalo, hereditary chief of the Upper Sis- 
setons, spoke next, as follows : 

"I am a young man, but I have always felt friend 
ly toward the whites because they were kind to my 
father. You have brought me into great danger 
without my knowing of it beforehand. By killing 
the whites, it is just as if you had waited for me in 
ambush and shot me down. You Lower Indians feel 
very bad because we have all got into trouble ; but I 
feel worse, because I know that neither I nor my peo 
ple have killed any of the whites, and that yet we 
have to suffer for the guilty. I was out buffalo-hunt 
ing when I heard of the outbreak, and I felt as if I 
was dead, and I feel so now. You all know that the 
Indians can not live without the aid of the white men, 
and therefore I have made up my mind that Paul is 
right, and my Indians will stand by him. We claim 
this reservation. What are you doing here ? If you 



want to fight the whites, go back and fight them. 
Leave me at my village at Big Stone Lake. You 
sent word to my young men to come down, and that 
you had plenty of oxen, and horses, and goods, and 
powder, and lead, and now we see nothing. We are 
going back to Big Stone Lake, and leave you to fight 
the whites. Those who make peace can say that 
Standing Buffalo and his people will give themselves 
up in the spring." 

Wanata, the mixed Sisseton and Yanktonais chief, 
from the vicinity of Lac Traverse, was the next speak 
er. He said : 


"You ask me to fight the whites. I want to ask 
you a question. You said you had plenty of powder 
and lead for us. Where is it ? You make no answer. 
I will. You have it all. Go, then, you, and fight the 
whites with it. You are unreasonable to ask me to 
do so, for two reasons : first, I have no powder and 
lead ; second, I can t live without the whites. You 
have cut my throat, and now you ask my assistance. 
You can t have it. I am going home. Above Lac 
qui Parle the country belongs to us. Stay on your 
own lands and don t come on ours. You can fight, 
and I will give myself up in the spring and shake 
hands with the whites. I have finished." 

Wasou-washta and Wa-kein-to-wa, Spencer s friend, 
were the only ones, besides Paul, who spoke openly 
in favor of delivering the prisoners. After this coun 
cil the Lower Indians held one by themselves, and 
sent four Indians to Paul to know if his party would 
join them in the war, and he gave them the same an 
swer. Then they accused him and the others of cow 
ardice, and the interview ended in a quarrel. Paul 
also told them that he had heard that Wabashaw and 
Taopee had written a letter to Colonel Sibley, but they 
said that it was not true ; that they had heard the 
same thing, and had asked Wabashaw about it, but he 
denied it. 

As time progressed the excitement increased, and 
the fate of the captives grew more hopeless. After 
Standing Buffalo arrived, a large number of Sissetons 
came in from Abercrombie. One of their squaws was 
loud in her incitements to battle. She had a white 
man s whiskers tied to a pole, which she had obtained 
at that fort, and flourished over her head while she 


sang a song to the purport that the whites had made 
the Indians mad, and that they would cut them into 

Little Crow did not cease to encourage his men, for 
he perceived that there was no other course left open 
but battle. He stated that there were from two to 
three thousand British soldiers at Lac Traverse, who 
would soon be down to assist them, and that he be 
lieved, from signs he had seen at the Big Woods, that 
the Chippeways were co-operating with them. He 
urged that the Winnebagoes would also rise and go 
down the west side of the Mississippi, while he would 
take care of the country on the east, and that the oth 
er Sioux would capture the forts on the Missouri. 

There was a Yankton present who was a very flu 
ent speaker. He addressed the Indians at great 
length in support of Crow s views. He traced on the 
ground a map of the country, showing the course of 
the Missouri, and the locality of the different forts. 
He also marked out the ocean, and stated that a great 
nation was coming across this to help them, and its 
people would bring them plenty of ammunition. 
Crow s brother ridiculed the courage of the whites, 
and narrated, with much glee, how he cut off the limbs 
of the men with one stroke of a cleaver, and that they 
made no resistance, but stared at him like poor dumb 
beasts. The young braves kept themselves in a high 
state of excitement by their war orgies. These they 
no longer conducted on foot, but upon the horses 
which they had stolen and trained to dance. 

Other letters, indicating the condition of affairs in 
the camp, and the anxiety and peril of the captives, 
were received from the friendly Indians from time to 
time, of which the following are copies : 


" Maya-\vakan, September 14, 1862. 

"DEAR SIR, The first time that the young braves that brought 
the prisoners in camp I was opposed to it, but Crow opposed it and 
other things. I am afraid to come back on my reserve, but you will 
decide this for me. You told us that you wanted the priserners, so we 
quit fighting, Some of the prisoners have run away from our camp. 
There is three parties out, but when they come back we will quit the 
war for good. In regard to half-breeds, if you say that I should give 
them, I will do so. My friend, you know Wabashaw that I am not 
a bad man. I am a kind-hearted man. I know myself that ths poor 
women ain t the blamed for the fight. I arn always in for good. 
If you want to make peace with the Friendly Indians, we want to hear 
from you in regard to it, I am trying to do what is right. I hope 
that you will do so, and deal honestly with us. I want you to write 
me a good letter. his 

"Yours truly, WABASHAW" x 


"Red Iron s Village, September 15th, 1862. 
41 Ex. Governor Sibley : 

" HON. SIR, I have just seen your letter to Wabaxa and the oth 
er two chiefs. They intend to raise the white flag. It is our inten 
tion to join these bands; but if your troops do not reach here till the 
last of the week, it may be too late for our rescue. The Red Iron 
and the lower bands have held two councils already about killing off 
the captives, which includes the whites, half-breeds, and all those that 
have dressed like the whites. I have tried all that I could to get the 
captives free ; have held two councils with the lower bands, but Lit 
tle Crow won t give them up. Eight have come to me for protection 
till they can get better from their own people. I keep them in my 
family. I have tried to send a letter to you several times, but am 
watched very close. This letter, or rather a copy of it, was sent one 
day by a young man, but he could not get away from the other In 
dians in safety, so he returned. The half-breeds, and all the white 
captives, are in the greatest danger, for they declare they will put 
them to death as soon as your troops appear. We shall do as you 
requested as soon as practicable (that is, to raise the flag). Now, 
dear sir, please let me know what time we may expect you, for our 
lives are hazarded if we move before we can receive aid. I am glad 
you are powerful and strong, for, if God helps, you will conquer. As 
Christians, we are looking to him, and trust he will send you to free 
us. We have held meetings every Sabbath since the missionaries 


left. Oh ! deliver us, if possible, from our savage foes, and we shall 
try to show you how much we honor our great American Father. 
" Very respectfully, MA-ZA-KU-TA-MA-NE, or PAUL." 

"September ISth. 

"HoN. SIR, We think it just to witness our hands to the above, 
and also to state that this is the fourth letter we have written for him 
to send to you, but, as he said, he could not send it. Paul held a 
council with some of the lower chiefs, and talked very bravely to 
them. They wished to know if he was going to join the whites, tell 
ing him, at the same time, that chiefs had given themselves up and 
been killed (we didn t believe it). He told them plainly he should 
join them. They said he was no brave ; says Paul, I am not brave 
to murder, and do such wicked acts as your people do, but you shall 
see I am brave to do right. His life is in danger every moment 
from his speech. Paul requests us again to urge you to write imme 
diately when he may expect you, so he can get his band ready, if pos 
sible, before the slaughter commences among the captives. We dare 
not give our names in full, but Rev. Mr. Riggs will know, for he mar 
ried John and . M. A. BUTLER." 

" September 18th. 

" The Lower Friendly Indians to Hon. Governor Sibley : 
"DEAR SIR, We are in trouble about putting up the white flag. 
Some of the young men say they will go along with us, and, when 
near enough, will commence firing at your troops, so you see we are 
betrayed. Do let us know what we shall do; we are in jeopardy ev 
ery moment. Great excitement last night about killing the captives, 
but nothing done. Please understand about the flag, and a part of 
the soldiers making you believe we are the enemies; so do write 
what we shall do. We hope you will hasten on, and spare the lives 
of the innocent." (No signature. ) 

u Eed Iron s Village, September 19th, 1862. 
" Colonel I-I. H. Sibley : 

"I would like to see you in person this day, but I am in a hurry 
and can not come, so I send you a letter, which will answer the pur 
pose. My brother, I talk to you on this paper to let you know that I 
have not forgotten that you are my friend. I still remember it was 
with the white man s provision that I have lived through the severe 
winter ; for that reason, my friendship to you is unshaken. Although 


I have known of one bad thing this day, it was none of my fault. I 
had nothing whatever to do with it. I came down here to this place 
to find out who disturbed the peace between us, and for what reason. 
I have now found out, and am in a hurry to return. The nation is 
about to sacrifice itself for the sake of a few foolish young men. As 
for me, my great Father wished me to live, therefore he gave me pro 
visions and money ; and now it seems as though they had suddenly 
taken it from me, and thrown it into the water. My heart is sad, not 
only because I have not seen my goods, but because this day I have 
seen the destitution of our half-breeds. They are our flesh and blood, 
and therefore we are anxious for their welfare. My heart is. still 
made more sad at the sight of the many captives ; but they are not 
my captives, and, were my band strong enough, they should be re 
leased. My brother, I want to say something which I hope you will 
regard. I heard of this trouble while I was away from home, but did 
not believe it, and so I came down to see for myself; and now that I 
have seen and heard, I am in a hurry to get back, and tell my rela 
tives the straight of it. Although they have tried to shake our friend 
ship, yet I am anxious to renew it, and let it be stronger than ever. 
You are anxious to punish the offenders ; but I ask a favor that is, 
to wait on me until I have gathered my people and relatives togeth 
er, for they are many and scattered. I ask this favor because I am 
fearful lest your hurry should fail my intentions. 

" TATANKA NAJIN (Standing Buffalo), Chief of the Sissetons." 

" Hed Iron s Village, September 24th. 
" Ex. Gov. Sibley : Hon. Sir : 

"I have written some three or four letters to you, but never could 
send them. From the first I was anxious to extend and renew our 
friendship, and that of all the whites, and also are my friends, the 
Lower chiefs, that wish for peace. I held two councils as soon as the 
enemies came to our peaceful republic, in order to get the captives free, 
willing to hazard my own life could I obtain the liberty of the poor 
captives. The enemy are holding a council this morning, and want 
ed us to join them. They are rebels. We prefer our own councils 
and writing our own letters. The captives have been coming to us 
for safety until we have the greatest number, and so we are in dan 
ger of a battle from them immediately. Now, dear sir, please come 
right away without delay, or we may all fall victims, for fight we 
must soon. The enemy are not large in numbers, but you well know 
they are cruel savages (and the women, in the writer s opinion, can 



fight as \vell as the men). All the Indians, with the exception of 
these, are friendly, and, were we prepared for defending ourselves, 
we should conquer ; and if you don t hasten, our women and all the 
captives will suffer. Yours respectfully, 

"TAOPEE, and 
" Hon. Ex. Gov. Sibley, Col. commanding. 

"This letter is at the request of all our people. Maza-moni and 
Akipa are desirous of having their names put down with the Friendly 
Indians, feeling that they have had trouble enough, and are desirous 
of peace. All in great haste." 





ON the afternoon of the 18th of September the 
camp at Fort Eidgely was broken up, and the expedi 
tion, disgusted with the long inactivity, joyfully start 
ed on its upward march after the foe. As crossing 
above might be attended with an ambuscade, a boat 
was constructed near the fort, and the expedition 
there ferried over. Just as the last of the train was 
leaving, a man was seen coming from the west. The 
scouts rode toward him to ascertain who he was. He 
proved to be a fugitive German almost starved. When 
they approached he supposed that they were Indians, 
and was hacking away at his throat with his knife to 
commit suicide, but the edge was too dull to effect his 

The first camp was two miles above, and darkness 
came on before we were all across. Next morning 
we started with the dawn, and camped early in the 
afternoon a few miles below the agency. None of the 
enemy appeared during the day. Some of the men 
visited the houses of the "Farmer Indians," which 
were in the edge of the woods, and returned laden 
with buffalo robes and trinkets. A few miles above 
they found and buried the remains of Mr. Prescott, 
the government farmer. He had been concealed at 
the agency by his -wife, a mixed blood, in an oven 
during the massacre, and then started for the fort. 


The Indians met him. He pleaded long and earnest 
ly for his life, but without avail. He was killed, and 
his head cut off and placed upon a pole, with the face 
toward St. Paul, "in order," as his murderers said, 
with grim facetiousness, "that he might watch for 
their money." He was an old man, and had lived 
many years among them. Soon after dark the pres 
ence of Indians was made manifest by their firing one 
of the buildings in the woods a mile from the camp. 
It was done to lure our men into an ambush, but it 
failed of success. 

Early the next morning we proceeded on our way. 
On passing Prescott s grave we found several hundred 
little sticks thrust in the fresh dirt, indicating the 
number of Indians who had visited it.* All that day 
about a dozen of the enemy, well mounted, were seen 
two or three miles ahead. They were scouts from the 
camp above Yellow Medicine. Our route lay over a 
rolling prairie. Up every high hillock before us these 
scouts would gallop, watch our movements until we 
approached near, and then scud away. All objects 
on a prairie seem larger by reason of the absence of 
standards of comparison, and are more distinctly 
limned against the sky than elsewhere. The pictur 
esque appearance of these horsemen the knowledge 
that they were foes the mystery associated with a 
different race, and the fact that they were probably 
possessed of secrets of movements of vital importance, 
invested them with strange and romantic interest. 
On a fence near the Red-Wood River they left a mes 
sage of defiance, telling us to come on, and that the 
braves were ready for us at Yellow Medicine. They 

* " These Indians were the ones alluded to in Wabashaw s letter. 


also amused themselves with firing several bridges to 
impede our progress. These were smoking when wo 
came up, but not materially injured. 

The train stopped for dinner a mile and a half from 
the Eed-Wood Eiver, and young Myrick, one of the 
scouts (a cousin of the trader of that name, who was 
killed at the Lower Agency), in company with anoth 
er person, galloped ahead to the brow of the bluff 
overhanging the Eed-Wood Eiver. Here there was 
a deep, spacious, valley -like gorge, a mile and a half 
across, caused by the meanderings of the stream. The 
bluffs were belted thickly with trees, and in the val 
ley were large marshes of tall grass, and cornfields, 
and great patches of dense underbrush, with rocky ac 
clivities rising above them. On a number of these 
were houses. The place was just the one for an In 
dian ambuscade. "Where the horsemen stood there 
were fresh ears of green corn partially eaten, and 
sticks of kin-ne-kin-nic from which the Indians had 
recently whittled the bark. 

As Myrick and his companion stood there, they saw 
Other Day on horseback visiting the different houses 
to their right, and they immediately observed to one 
another that he was committing a very hazardous and 
foolish act, for it would be so easy for the enemy to 
pick him off. Presently he rode to where they were 
standing, and they, forgetting their comments on his 
conduct, proposed to go farther up the valley to the 
house of John Moore. To this the Indian assented, 
and the three forded the Eed-Wood, and rode to the 
foot of the rocks upon which the house was situated. 
Here Other Day fastened his horse to a plum-tree, 
threw himself upon the ground, and began eating the 



rich fruit which lay in great abundance below. The 
others followed his example. In a few moments he 
ran up the rocks to the house, leaving his horse fast 
ened. Myrick s companion said it was dangerous to 
leave their horses there, as they had seen Indians all 
the morning ahead, and, close to where they now 
were, had observed a fresh moccasin track in the road, 
and plum-stones from which the fruit had just been 
eaten, and that it was best to have their horses with 

So saying, he led his horse up to the house, and 
stood holding him at the door. Other Day was then 
up stairs. Myrick ran up presently. He said he had 
been debating whether to tie his horse or bring him 
along, and had finally concluded to leave him there 
without hitching. He then went up stairs and left 
the other at the door. The rough rocks were not in 
viting, nor were any of the surroundings. The win 
dows were all smashed to pieces, and the floor lit 
tered with various articles. On the outside was the 
trunk belonging to Prescott, whom we had buried the 
evening before. It had been broken open and emp 
tied, and scattered around were many letters bearing 
his superscription. These suggested his fate, and the 
presence of the warriors who had visited his grave, and 
the question of the possibility of escape if they saw 
them. To a mind rendered morbidly active by the 
horrors which had been enacted, the effect was some 
what exciting. The expedition was two miles away, 
and could not afford relief, and flight through the wild 
morass was almost an impossibility. After a long 
search in the garret, Other Day and Myrick passed 
down into the cellar; Myrick, as he did so, saying 


that it was a very foolish proceeding, but that it 
wouldn t do for white men to be beaten in temerity 
by an Indian. 

They staid in the cellar some little time, when the 
silence was broken by the clattering of Myrick s horse 
up the rocks. The horses could not be seen from the 
house, nor therefore the cause of this proceeding per 
ceived; but Myrick s companion immediately cried 
out, " My rick, here comes your horse ; there is some 
thing wrong." Both hurried from the cellar, and 
Other Day ran down the rocks, then hurried back, his 
face blazing with excitement, and crying, in startling 
tones, " Sioux ! Sioux !" seized his gun, motioned the 
others back toward the house, as if they should there 
make a stand, and rushed down the rocks. Presently 
he was heard talking in a loud voice, and the others, 
no longer able to restrain their curiosity, ran to the 
edge of the eminence, holding their horses, and there, 
four hundred yards out in the marsh, were two In 
dians, mounted on Other Day s horse, which they had 
taken within fifty feet of the house. Other Day was 
trying to call them back, but they made off the faster, 
and then he discharged his rifle at them without ef 
fect. Its echoes rang through the valley, and were 
followed instantly by two discharges from Myrick (his 
companion had only a revolver). These were like 
wise without effect, and the Indians passed into the 
woods and made their escape. Hope of successful 
pursuit across the marsh there was not, and if there 
had been, an ignorance of the number of the foe would 
have rendered it too hazardous an undertaking to at 
tempt. The horse was gayly decorated with a red 
head-dress, which its owner had found in one of the 


houses. It was a great prize to the captors, not mere 
ly for its value, but because it was taken from one 
whom they hated for joining the whites, and of whom 
they were all afraid. He was a desperate man in a 
quarrel ; had killed several of the tribe years before, 
and went always armed, so as not to be caught unpre 
pared. An Indian afterward stated that the captors 
were concealed in the grass while the three were eat 
ing plums, and that one of the two had his gun aimed 
at Myrick to shoot, but was made to desist by his 
companion, for fear one of them would be shot by 
Other Day, and also because the firing would call the 
attention of our troops. 

Then the three made their way toward the camp, 
avoiding as far as possible the spots where a foe might 
be concealed. Fearing to cross at the ford, as Indians 
.would naturally lie there in ambush, they endeavored 
ineffectually to cross the Ked-Wood at other points. 
The opposite bank was too steep for the horses to 
clamber. Myrick s companion, when returning from 
the other shore, caught sight of some horsemen half a 
mile away, and pointed them out to Other Day. He 
jumped upon a little eminence, looked at them a mo 
ment, said they were white men, then crossed the riv 
er on a tree which had fallen across it, and took his 
way quickly toward the train. The horsemen disap 
peared from view almost immediately, and this led 
the two to doubt the correctness of Other Day s judg 
ment. They thought that they must have heard the 
guns, and, if white men, would ride down to see what 
the trouble was. They debated for some time what 
to do, but finally rode over toward them through the 
tall corn, with their arms cocked and ready for use, 


and were delighted on finding them to be our ad 
vanced scouts. They had not heard the discharge of 
the guns. Poor Other Day was now under a tempo 
rary cloud, for Colonel Sibley laughed at his losing his 
horse, saying the enemy were too sharp for him, and 
compelled him to walk. He was much chagrined, as 
all the expedition knew him, and had noticed the 
gaudy head-dress of his horse; but he simply said 
that when they neared the enemy he would have two 
horses for one. 

The next day we found George Gleason s body on 
the prairie, and buried it. He was wasted almost to a 
skeleton. Two heavy stones were imbedded in his 
skull. He was Mr. Galbraith s clerk at the Lower 
Agency, and well known throughout the state. 

On the evening of the 22d we camped on the Lone- 
tree Lake, two miles from Wood Lake, and two from 
the Yellow Medicine Eiver. Next morning, between 
six and seven o clock, as we were taking our break 
fast, several foraging teams, with their guards, when 
about half a mile from camp, were fired upon by In 
dians, who lay concealed in the grass. The guards 
returned the fire, while the teams were urged to their 
utmost speed. The 3d regiment, under Major Welch, 
which had joined us at the fort, hurried out, without 
orders from the commander of the expedition, crossed 
a ravine, and was soon engaged with the foe. The 
general impression at first was that the attack was by 
a small number of the enemy, and that the soldiers 
were wasting their ammunition, for the firing soon be 
came rapid. The 3d were ordered back into camp; 
and just then the enemy appeared in great numbers 
on all sides, and were gathering in the ravine between 



the regiment and the camp. The battle, which was 
known as that of Wood Lake, had now fairly begun. 
The balls flew thick and fast, some of them penetra 
ting the tents. 

Captain Hendricks s cannon now opened fire, as did 
the howitzer, under the direct supervision of Colonel 
Sibley. Then Hendricks boldly advanced his gun to 
the head of the ravine, and the brave Lieutenant Col 
onel Marshall, with three companies of the 7th, and 


Captain Grant, of the 6th, charged amid a shower of 
balls, on the double-quick, through the ravine, and put 
the foe to rout. The contest lasted for an hour and 
a half. The number actually engaged on each side 


was about eight hundred, many of our men being held 
in camp in reserve. Our loss was four killed and be 
tween forty and fifty wounded. Among the wound 
ed was Major Welch, who was shot in the leg early in 
the fight while bravely leading his men forward. The 
command then devolved upon Lieutenant Olin, who 
distinguished himself by his gallant conduct. 

The 3d regiment had acted in a very boisterous 
manner ever since it joined us, paying little regard to 
orders. This was owing to the fact that they felt reck 
less from their unjustifiable surrender at Murfreesbor- 
ough, and because they were without officers, Lieuten 
ant Olin being the only one present belonging to the 
regiment (Welch had been recently assigned to the 
command). In this fight they nobly did their whole 
duty. They and the Eenville Eangers, under Captain 
James Gorman, bore the brunt of the fray, and sus 
tained jnost of the losses. A small body of the enemy 
threatened another portion of the camp, but were suc 
cessfully repelled by Major M Laren and Captain Har 
vey B. Wilson. Colonel Sibley s staff were active in 
carrying his orders, and were specially commended in 
his dispatches. 

Other Day nobly redeemed the pledge he had made 
two days before. He took with his own hand two 
horses from the enemy, and slew their riders. He 
was often in their midst, and so far in advance of our 
men that they fired many shots at him, in the belief 
that he was one of the foe. No person on the field 
compared with him in the exhibition of reckless brav 
ery. He was a warrior worthy to have crossed cime- 
ters with Saladin, or dashed with Arabia s mad proph 
et through the shock of Eastern war. He seemed to 


be instinct with the spirit of the fierce, resistless steed, 
"who saith among the trumpets ha! ha! and smell- 
eth the battle from afar off, the thunder of the cap 
tains and the shouting." He was clothed entirely in 
white ; a belt around his waist, in which was placed 
his knife ; a handkerchief was knotted about his head, 
and in his hand he lightly grasped his rifle. His 
teeth glistened like finest ivory through the slightly- 
parted lips ; his eye was ablaze with fire ; his face of 
bronze radiant with the joy of battle; his exulting 
utterances came thick and fast, in a sort of purr, 
pitched upon a high key, and soft as the dulcet tones 
of an Italian woman. As he bounded along with 
the graceful spring of a tiger-cat, there came to mind 
Djalma, the Prince of Java, when, in the theatre at 
Paris, at the time of the escape of the panther Le 
Mort, he leaped upon the stage with the returning ar 
dor of his native jungles, and struck his dagger to the 
heart. With the exuberant, riotous health of Bul- 
wer s Margrave, and the airy wildness of the Faun, he 
looked the perfection of all the creatures of the woods 
and fields, and the incarnation of the ideal of the In 
dian God of War. 

It was the taunts of the Friendly Indians who forced 
on the fight while we were in camp. Little Crow s 
plan was to ambuscade us while passing through the 
deep gorge of the Yellow Medicine. Had this advice 
been followed many of our number would have been 
slain. They insisted that if the Lower Indians were 
really brave they ought to attack us on the open 
plain. Just before the battle their medicine-man went 
through certain incantations and predicted success. 
In one of the wagons the Sioux carried a British flag. 
Had they been a unit in their feelings the battle would 


have continued much longer ; but the Upper Indians, 
as soon as they found the day was going against them, 
abandoned the field, and were followed by the others. 
Simon, a Sioux who had joined us at Fort Kidgety, 
went from Colonel Sibley s forces during the progress 
of the fight to ascertain what the friendly-disposed 
Indians were going to do. It will be recollected that 
they had sent word that they would display a white 
flag and leave the others. He distinctly stated that 
ifcwould be better for them to abandon the others, and 
that the innocent ones would not be punished. The 
young braves evinced great hostility, and threatened 
to kill him ; but he said that they might do so ; that 
he was an old man, but would do his duty whatever 
might happen. His conduct is represented to have 
been cool and daring in the extreme. At the conclu 
sion of the contest they requested leave to carry away 
their dead, but were refused. Fifteen Indians were 
found upon the battle - field, and a wounded one 
brought in as a prisoner. The dead ones were gath 
ered together and buried. They were all scalped. 
One person, in his eagerness, tore off the entire skin 
from the face with the scalp, and carried it to his tent 
under his vest. It seemed a hard thing to exult over 
the dead, but the soldiers could not help feeling satis 
faction that the hunt after the miscreants who had 
committed so many murders with impunity was hav 
ing a practical result. The sensation experienced was 
very much like that felt by the hunter when he proves 
that he has succeeded in killing some wily animal by 
an exhibition of the animal itself, or by the fisherman, 
who produces the fish to listeners who would other 
wise be dubious as to the reception of bites. So many 


large stories about the killing of Indians had been 
told, without any person having actually seen their 
natural confirmation the bodies that the people 
were getting very incredulous on the point. The mu 
tilation of the dead enemy was discountenanced by the 
officers. It was done in the excitement of the mo 
ment, and after seeing the horrible manner in which 
the foe had carved up the soldiers which they killed. 

The wounded Indian lived several days. He was 
shot through the lungs, and the breath and the bufc)- 
bling blood could be heard issuing from the wound. 
He was lying in a tent, guarded, shivering with cold, 
and almost perishing for water. James Gorman, of 
the Eenville Kangers, and another person, gave him 
some water, and threw an overcoat over him. A 
grateful look came into his dying eyes. He had 
not expected this. The soldiers on the outside 
thought this act of charity an outrageously culpable 
thing. How precious a cup of cold water may some 
times be, and what contumely attend its bestowal! 
Among the fatally wounded of the Indians who were 
carried away was one of the "Farmers," who had 
been a devoted friend of the captives. He was not 
engaged himself, but took a club and drove some of 
the cowardly Lower Indians into the midst of danger, 
saying, "You said we were not brave, and now I will 
show you where to go." Red Iron, who had also 
been our friend, was with him. 

After burying our dead and remaining one day at 
Wood Lake, we marched to the Indian camp near 
Lac qui Parle, which, by the route we had taken, was 
about two hundred and twenty-five miles from St. 




ON the 26th of September we reached the Indian 
camp. It was located nearly opposite the mouth of 
the Chippeway River, and numbered about one hund 
red tepees. Just before we arrived, a war party, com 
posed of a portion of those who had placed the sticks 
on Prescott s grave, had passed by, leaving a prisoner 
with the inmates.* Little Crow and some two hund 
red men and their families hurriedly fled the day aft 
er the battle. Some of the fugitives were still in sight 
when we came up. A few hundred cavalry could 
easily have captured these, and put an immediate end 
to the war. 

Colonel Sibley frequently urged the necessity of 
a mounted force, and Governor Ramsey was ener 
getic in his endeavors to comply with his demand. 
The failure to do so resulted from the preoccupa 
tion of the federal government in a more important 
war. General Pope, who was placed in command 
of the department some time afterward, dispatched 
several hundred cavalry to Colonel Sibley, but the 
season was too far advanced to follow Crow. It was 
unfortunate that the energetic and influential ex-Sen 
ator Rice had not been placed early in charge of the 

* This party had murdered several persons in the neighborhood of 
Hutchinson on the day of the battle of Wood Lake. The others 
committed depredations at Medalia. 



department, as was suggested. He was fully alive to 
the necessity of such a force, and would have taken 
care that Colonel Sibley should have had the requisite 
number in time. 

Our own camp, which was called " Camp Kelease," 
was pitched about a quarter of a mile from that of the 
Indians, which our cannon commanded. Their camp 
was filled with wagons and cattle which they had sto 
len. The tents were well supplied with carpets, and 
different kinds of goods and household utensils. Soon 
after our arrival, the commander, with his staff and 
body-guard, rode over and took formal possession. 




Wondering squaws and children stared at the new 
comers, and tall, gay ly -painted braves were profuse in 
their declarations of friendship. "Old Betz," a very 
aged squaw, since dead, who was well known through 
out the state, and who, it was said, had been kind to 
the captives, was among the former. A formal de 
mand which was made for the captives was instantly 
complied with. They were nearly two hundred and 
fifty in number. They had been compelled to wear 
the Indian dress during their captivity, but had now 
been permitted to resume their former habiliments. 


The poor creatures wept for joy at their escape. They 
had watched for our coming for many a weary day,* 
with constant apprehensions of death at the hands of 
their savage captors, and had almost despaired of see 
ing us. The woe written in the faces of the half starved 
and nearly naked women and children would have 
melted the hardest heart. They were taken to our 
camp, where they remained until sent below a few 
clays subsequently. The sleepless nights which the 
commander passed in scheming for their deliverance, 
and the steadfastness with which he resisted all coun 
sels for a sudden attack, which would have compro 
mised their safety, received in their deliverance a rich 

George Spencer, who was saved by his Indian 
friend at Red- Wood (the only white man among the 
captives), said, if we had marched to the camp imme 
diately after the battle, most of the prisoners would 
have been killed. It will be recollected that many 
of them were in the Lower Indians exclusive posses 
sion, and that they had resolved that they should die 
with them. 

The apprehensions of the captives after the first 
rage of their captors was over were greater than their 
actual sufferings. They fared as well as the Indians 
in the main. Only one person was killed a little boy 
whom a warrior had adopted. The Indian was in the 
habit of painting his face, and one morning the little 
fellow cried because it was not done, and, enraged, the 
savage shot him. He was only wounded, and the In 
dian boys beat him to death with clubs and pitched 
him over the bluff. The grosser outrages were most 
ly committed by the younger portion of the tribe. 


Indians are not all lost to humanity. Simon, Lorenzo 
Lawrence, Robert Hopkins, Paul, Spencer s comrade, 
Chaska, and the noble Other Day, risked their lives in 
behalf of their white friends. History is full of such 
instances. The heroic Pocahontas interposed her own 
person between the axe of the executioner and the 
imperiled Smith. The great Virginia massacre of 
1662 was limited in its extent by an Indian revealing 
the plot to a friend whom he wished to save, and 
Philip of Pokanoket wept with sorrow when he heard 
of the death of the first Englishman who was killed. 
These acts and numberless others will suffer no dimi 
nution of effect by comparison with any sacrifices that 
whites have made for Indians. 

Many of our men insisted that Colonel Sibley would 
be justifiable in making any treaty he could to obtain 
the captives, and when that was done, kill all the In 
dians, men, women, and children ; one of them quot 
ing a saying, which he attributed to the great Indian- 
fighter Harney, that " nits make lice." Our people, 
luckily, are disciplined ; and the broad, sober sense of 
the leaders, which reaches beyond the present hour, 
generally restrains acts of atrocity. 

Indians pay little regard to the chiefs and older 
men. Prominent intellects they have, but no com 
manders no men with power to enforce their views. 
Passion, unrestrained by judgment, therefore rules. 
In vain Tecumseh sought, with more effort than the 
white man Proctor, to stay the massacre on the River 
Raisin ; and Crow s exhortations to spare women and 
children fell unheeded on the ears of the braves. The 
murder of white soldiers who have surrendered in 
good faith is due to the inability of the chiefs to en 
force obedience to their orders. 


A military commission of inquiry was at once ap 
pointed to ascertain the guilty parties, and testimony 
against about a dozen obtained. A commission for the 
trial of these and of any others who might be accused 
was then organized, and some thirty or forty immedi 
ately arrested. The remainder in camp were sent 
down to the Yellow Medicine Agency under charge 
of Agent Gralbraith, as the stock of provisions was fast 
becoming exhausted. 

Many other Indians came in voluntarily with their 
squaws from time to time, and gave themselves up ; 
and others were surprised in the night by our expedi 
tions, and placed with the others in a second camp 
near our own. 

The evidence before the commission indicating that 
the whole nation was involved in the war, Colonel 
Crooks, by order of the commander, silently surround 
ed the second camp in the night, disarmed the men, and 
placed them in a log jail which had previously been 
erected in the midst of our camp. The guns taken 
from them were nearly all loaded with ball, and the 
shot-pouches also filled with them. Among the guns 
were some of the rifles which had been taken from 
Marsh and Strout. A similar proceeding was order 
ed at Yellow Medicine, and safely accomplished by as 
sembling all the braves within the walls of the agency 
buildings, under pretense of holding a council. Bat 
tling Moccasin, taking alarm, had decamped from there 
a few days before with a portion of his band. 

The prisoners were linked together in pairs by chains 
forged to their ankles. As the proud but now crest 
fallen braves hobbled along, the soldiers would deri 
sively salute them with "Left!" "Left!" They were 


designated, whenever spoken of, as "Los" from "Lo! 
the poor Indian, whose untutored mind," etc. 

A number of half-breeds were among the accused, 
and these were looked upon with more hatred than 
the Indians, because related to the whites. The object 
of most bitter malediction was the negro, or, rather, 
mulatto Godfrey or Gussa, who was also a prisoner 
and chained to an Indian. He had been foremost 
among the attacking party at New Ulm, and Indians 
said he was braver than any of them. He had boast 
ed that he had killed nine adults and a number of 
children, but of the latter he said he kept no account, 
because he thought they did not amount to any thing. 
The Indians had given him the name of Otakle, i. e., 
" he who kills many." He admitted being in the bat 
tles, but denied that he had killed any one. Where 
persons are murdered in a house, the Indians give the 
credit of the affair to the man who first enters, on ac 
count of the superior daring thereby indicated, just as, 
for the same reason, they say a brave who first touches 
the body of the slain kills the person, although the 
deed may have been committed by another. The man 
attacked may be only feigning death. Indians often 
do so. Godfrey said he acquired his name by entering 
first into a house near New Ulm by direction of the 
Indians, where a number were killed by them. I have 
but little doubt that he entered into the massacres 
with as much zest as the Indians themselves after he 
once commenced. He was brought up among them, 
could speak their language, and was married to a 
squaw. Two very intelligent girls, who were cap 
tured by a party of Indians on the first day of the 
massacre, between Reynolds s place on the Red-Wood 


and ISTew Ulm, said that Godfrey, who was with the 
Indians, driving the team in which they were placed, 
was painted for war, and wore a breech-clout; and that 
he chuckled over their captivity, and seemed to enter 
fully into the spirit of their captors. He was leaning 
composedly against a wagon-box when we entered the 
Indian camp. He was about the medium height, stout 
ly built ; had very dark complexion, curly hair, lips 
of medium thickness, eyes slightly crossed, but not 
enough to disfigure, and a voice of most marvelous 
sweetness. He wore moccasins, but otherwise had re 
sumed the dress of the whites. An old plush cap, with 
large ear-flaps, was placed on one side of his head. 
This is the story which Godfrey told : 




"I AM twenty-seven years old. I was born at Men- 
dota. My father was a Canadian Frenchman, and my 
mother a colored woman, who hired in the family of 
the late Alex. Bailley. I was raised in Mr. Bailley s 
family. My father is, I think, living in "Wisconsin ; 
his name is Joe Godfrey. My mother is also living 
at Prairie du Chien. I last saw my father and mother 
at Prairie du Chien seven years ago. I lived with 
Mr. Bailley at Wabashaw, and also at Hastings and 
Faribault. I had lived at the Lower Agency five 
years. I was married, four years ago, to a woman of 
Wabashaw s band daughter of Wa-kpa-doo-ta.* At 
the time of the outbreak I lived on the Reservation 
on the south side of the Minnesota River, between 
the Lower Agency and New Ulm, about twenty miles 
below the agency and eight above New Ulm. 

" The first time I heard of the trouble I was mow 
ing hay. About noon an Indian was making hay 
near me. I went to help him, to change work ; he 
was to lend me his oxen. I helped him load some 
hay, and as we took it to his place we heard hallooing, 
and saw a man on horseback, with a gun across his 
legs before him. When he saw me he drew his gun 
Up and cocked it. The Indian with me asked him 
What s the matter? He looked strange. He wore 

* Afterward executed. 


a new hat a soft gray hat and had a new white leath 
er ox or mule whip. He said all the white people had 
been killed at the agency. The Indian with me asked 
who did it, and he replied the Indians, and that they 
would soon be down that way to kill the settlers toward 
New Ulm. He asked me which side I would take. 
He said I would have to go home and take off my 
clothes, and put on a breech-clout. I was afraid, be 
cause he held his gun as if he would kill me. I went 
to my house and told my wife to get ready, and we 
would try to get away. I told my wife about what the 
Indian told me. I told her we would try to get down 
the river. She said we would be killed with the white 
people. We got something ready to take with us to 
eat, and started we got about two hundred yards into 
the woods. (The old man, my wife s father, said he 
would fasten the house and follow after.) "We heard 
some one halloo. It was the old man. He called to 
us to come back. I told my wife to go on, bat her 
mother told her to stop. I told them to go ahead; 
but the old man called so much that they stopped and 
turned back. I followed them. 

" I found my squaw s uncle at the house. He scold 
ed my wife and her mother for trying to get away ; 
he said all the Indians had gone to the agency, and 
that they must go there. He said we would be killed 
if we went toward the white folks; that we would 
only be safe to go and join the Indians. I still had 
my pants on. I was afraid ; and they told me I must 
take my pants off and put on the breech-clout. I did 
so. The uncle said we must take a rope and catch a 

"I started with him toward New Ulm, and we met 


a lot of Indians at the creek, about a mile from my 
house. They were all painted, and said I must be 
painted. They then painted me. I was afraid to re 

" They asked me why I didn t have a gun, or knife, 
or some weapon. I told them I had no gun the old 
man had taken it away. One Indian had a spear, a 
gun, and a little hatchet. He told me to take the 
hatchet, and that I must fight with the Indians, and 
do the same they did, or I would be killed. "We start 
ed down the road. We saw two wagons with people 
in them coming toward us. The Indians consulted 
what to do, and decided for half of them to go up to 
a house off the road, on the right-hand side. They 
started, but I stopped, and they called me and told me 
I must come on. There was an old man, a boy, and 
two young women at the house Dutch people. The 
family s name was something like Masseybush. The 
boy and two girls stood outside, near the kitchen door. 
Half of the Indians went to the house, half remained 
in the road. The Indians told me to tell the whites 
that there were Chippeways about, and that they (the 
Indians) were after them. I did not say any thing. 
The Indians asked for some water. The girls went 
into the house, and the Indians followed and talked 
in Sioux. One said to me, Here is a gun for you. 
Dinner was on the table, and the Indians said, After 
we kill, then we will have dinner. They told me to 
watch the road, and when the teams came up to tell 
them. I turned to look, and just then I heard the In 
dians shoot; I looked, and two girls fell just outside 
the door. I did not go in the house ; I started to go 
round the house. We were on the back side of it, 



when I heard the Indians on the road hallooing and 
shouting. They called me, and I went to the road 
and saw them killing white men. My brother-in-law 
told me I must take care of a team that he was hold 
ing ; that it was his. I saw two men killed that were 
with this wagon. I did not see who were killed in 
the other wagon. I saw one Indian stick his knife in 
the side of a man that was not yet dead ; he cut his 
side open, and then cut him all to pieces.* His name 
was Wakantonka (great spirit). Two of the Indians 
that killed the people at the house have been convict 
ed. Their names are Waki-ya-ni and Mah-hwa. 
There were about ten Indians at the house, and about 
the same number in the road. I got into the wagon, 
and the Indians all got in. We turned and went to 
ward New Ulm. When we got near to a house the 
Indians all got out and ran ahead of the wagons, and 
two or three went to each house, and in that way 
they killed all the people along the road. I staid in 
the wagon, and did not see the people killed. They 
killed the people of six or eight houses all until we 
got to the l Travelers Home. There were other In 
dians killing people all through the settlement. We 
could see them and hear them all around. I was 
standing in the wagon, and could see three, or four, 
or five Indians at every house. 

" When we got near the * Travelers Home they 
told me to stop. I saw an old woman with two chil 
dren one in each hand run away across the yard. 
One Indian, Maza-bom-doo, who was convicted, shot 
the old woman, and jumped over and kicked the chil 
dren down with his feet. The old woman fell down 
* Afterward executed. 


as if dead. I turned away my head, and did not see 
whether the children were killed. After that I heard 
a shot behind the barn, but did not see who was shot. 
I supposed some one was killed. After that the. In 
dians got in the wagon, and told me to start down the 
road. We started on, and got to a house where a man 
lived named Schling a German an old man. The 
Indians found a jug in the wagon, and were now al 
most drunk. They told me to jump out. I jumped 
out and started ahead, and the Indians called me to 
come back. They threw out a hatchet, and said I 
must go to the house and kill the people. Maza-bom- 
doo was ahead. He told me there were three guns 
there that he had left for some flour, and we must get 
them. I was afraid. 

"I went into the house. There was the old man, 
his wife and son, and a boy and another man. They 
were at dinner. The door stood open, and the In 
dians were right behind me, and pushed me in. I 
struck the old man on the shoulder with the flat of 
the hatchet, and then the Indians rushed in and com 
menced to shoot them. The old man, woman, and 
boy ran into the kitchen. The other man ran out 
some way, I did not see how; but when we went 
back to the road, about twenty steps, I saw him in the 
road dead. He was the man I struck in the house. 
I heard the Indians shoot back of the house, but did 
not see what at. After we started to go to Eed-Wood, 
one little Indian, who had pox-marks on his face, and 
who was killed at Wood Lake, said he struck the boy 
with a knife, but didn t say if he killed him. He told 
this to the other Indians. 

" We saw coming up the road two wagons, one with 


a flag in it. The Indians were afraid, and we started 
back, and went past the Travelers Home. We got 
to a bridge, and the Indians got out and laid down in 
the grass about the bridge. I went on up the road. 
The wagons, with white men, came on up and stopped 
in the road, where there was a dead man, I think ; 
then they sounded the bugle and started to cross the 
bridge, running their horses. The foremost wagon 
had one horse, of a gray color ; three men were in it, 
and had the flag. Just as they came across the bridge, 
the Indians raised up and shot. The three men fell 
out, and the team went on. The Indians ran and 
caught it. The other wagon had not got across the 
bridge. I heard them shoot at the men in it, but I 
did not see them. After the Indians brought the sec 
ond wagon arcoss the bridge, three Indians got in the 
wagon. After that all of them talked together, and 
said that it was late (the sun was nearly down), and 
that they must look after their wives and children 
that had started to go to Bed-Wood. Many of these 
Indians lived on the lower end of the reservation. 
The two-horse team that they had just taken was 
very much frightened, and they could not hold them. 
They told me I must take and hold them, and drive 
them. I took the team, and then they all got in. We 
then had four teams. We started from there, and 
went on up. When we got to where the first people 
were killed, the Indians told me to drive up to the 
house. The two girls were lying dead. I saw one 
girl with her head cut off; the head was gone. One 
Indian, an old man, asked who cut the head off; he 
said it was too bad. The other Indians said they did 
not know. The girls clothes were turned up. The 


old man put them down. He is now in prison ; his 
name is Wazakoota ; he is a good old man. While 
we stood there one wagon went to another house, and 
I heard a gun go off. 

" We started up the road, and stopped at a creek 
about a mile farther on. We waited for some of the 
Indians that were behind. While we were there we 
saw a house on fire. When the Indians came up they 
said that Wak-pa-doo-ta, my father-in-law, shot a wom 
an, who was on a bed sick, through the window ; and 
that an old man ran up stairs, and the Indians were 
afraid to go in the house ; they thought he had a gun, 
and they set fire to the house and left it. We then 
started on from that creek, and went about seven miles 
to near a little lake (about a hundred yards from the 
road). We saw, far away, a wagon coming toward us. 
When it was only two miles from us we saw it was 
a two-horse wagon, but the Indians didn t know if it 
was white people. When it came nearer they told 
me to go fast. The Indians whipped the horses and 
hurried them on. Two Indians were ahead of us on 
horseback. Pretty soon we came near, and the team 
that was coming toward us stopped and turned round, 
and the Indians said it was white men, and they were 
trying to run away. The two on horseback then 
shot, and I saw a white man Patville fall back over 
his seat ; and after that I saw three women and one 
man jump out of the wagon and run. Then those in 
the wagon with me jumped out and ran after the 
women. We got up to the wagon. Patville was not 
dead. The Indians threw him out, and a young In 
dian, sentenced to be hung, stuck a knife between his 
ribs, under the arm, and another one, who is with Lit- 


tie Crow, took his gun and beat his head all to pieces. 
The other Indians killed the other white man near 
the little lake, and brought back the three women 
Mattie Williams, Mary Anderson, and Mary Swan. 

" Patville s wagon was full of trunks. The Indians 
broke them open and took the things out ; there were 
some goods in them (Patville was a sort of trader on 
the reservation). They put one woman in the wagon. 
I drove. The other two were put separately in the 
other wagons. The one in my wagon (Mary Swan) 
was caught by Maza-bom-doo. Ta-zoo had Mattie 
Williams. We then went on, and stopped at a creek 
about a mile ahead to water the horses. Then they 
called me to ask the woman that was wounded if she 
was badly hurt. She said Yes. They told me to 
ask her to show the wound, and that they would do 
something for it. She showed the wound. It was in 
the back. The ball did not come out. She asked 
where we were going. I said I didn t know, but sup 
posed to Bed-Wood. I asked what had been done at 
the agency. She said they didn t know ; that they 
came around on the prairie past Eed-Wood. I told 
her I heard that all the whites at the agency were 
killed and the stores robbed. She said she wished 
they would drive fast, so she could have a doctor do 
something for her wound ; she was afraid she would 
die. I said I was a prisoner too. She asked what 
would be done with them. I said I didn t know ; per 
haps we would all be killed. I said maybe the doc 
tor was killed, if all the white people were. After 
that we started on, and got to the Eed-Wood Agency 
about nine o clock. It was dark. Then the Indians 
looked round, and did not see any people. We went 


on to Wacouta s house. He came out, and told me to 
tell the girl in my wagon to go into his house that 
the other two girls were in his house. I told the girl ; 
but she was afraid, and said she thought the other 
women were somewhere else. I told her that Wacou- 
ta said they were in his house, and she had better go. 
Wacouta told her to go with him, and she got out and 
went with him. I then went on to Little Crow s vil 
lage, where most all of the Indians had gone. I found 
my wife there. We staid some time there, and then 
started for the fort. They asked me to go to drive a 
team. After we got there they commenced to fight. 
They broke in the stable, and told me to go and take 
all the horses I could. I got a black mare, but an 
Indian took it away from me. They fought all day, 
and slept at night in the old stable under the hill. 
The next morning they fought only a little ; it was 
raining. We then went back to Red -Wood. In 
about six days after all the Indians started, and said 
they would go to Mankato. They came down toward 
the fort on that side of the river, and crossed near the 
* Travelers Home. When they got opposite the fort 
they stopped, and talked of trying to get in again, but 
did not. About noon they went on to New Ulm. I 
saw no white people on the road. I got to New Ulm 
about two hours after noon. They burned houses, 
and shot, and fought. They slept at New Ulm that 
night, and the next day went back to Little Crow s 
village. (This was the last fight at New Ulm ; God 
frey says he was not there at the first fight. He was 
then at Little Crow s village.) After a few days we 
went to Eice Creek ; staid there a few days, and start 
ed again to come to Mankato. After crossing the 


Ked-Wood we went up the hill, and saw wagons on 
the prairie on the other side of the river. After the 
Indians had all crossed the Ked-Wood, half staid there 
all night, and half went over the Minnesota to where 
they saw the wagons. Those that staid back went 
over early the next morning. I went with them. 
We got there at sunrise. We heard shooting just be 
fore we got there. They were shooting all day. They 
killed all the horses. (This was the battle of Birch 
Coolie.) At night the Indians killed some cattle, and 
cooked and ate some meat. Some talked of trying to 
get into the camp, and some tried it all night. Oth 
ers talked of watching till they should drive them out 
for want of water. Three Indians were killed that 
day so the Indians said. I saw some wounded I 
should think five. In the morning some more talk 
was had about trying to get in. In the mean time we 
saw soldiers coming up, and half of the Indians started 
to try and stop them, and the other half staid to watch 
the camp at Birch Coolie. They went down to try and 
stop the soldiers, and afterward came back and said 
twas no use that they couldn t stop them. Some 
wanted to try and get the whites into Birch Coolie, 
but others thought they had better go back. They 
fired some shots, and then started back. The Sisse- 
tons got to us while we were there the second day, 
about two or three hours before the Indians all left. 
The Indians left a little before sundown. They cross 
ed the river at the old crossing, and went up to the 
site of Eeynolds s house, the other side of the Ked- 
Wood, and camped. They started about midnight to 
go to Kice Creek. Got there about sunrise. Staid 
there several days. 


" While we were at Birch Coolie Little Crow was at 
the Big Woods. He got back to Rice Creek two days 
after we did. We went from Kice Creek to Yellow 
Medicine ; staid there about two weeks. While there 
ten or twenty started every day to see if soldiers were 
coming. When they reported that soldiers were on 
the way, we moved our camp to where Mr.Riggs lived ; 
then up to Red Iron s village ; then to a little way 
from where the friendly camp was. After the scouts 
reported that soldiers had crossed the Red- Wood, Lit 
tle Crow made a speech, and said that all must fight ; 
that it would be the last fight, and they all must do 
the best they could. Scouts reported about midnight 
that soldiers were camped at Rice Creek. In the 
morning we all started down to Yellow Medicine ; 
got there a little before sundown. Some were there 
earlier. We staid at Yellow Medicine all night. 
Some wanted to begin the attack in the night, but oth 
ers thought twas best to wait till morning. In the 
morning the fight began. After the fight, went back 
to the old camp at Camp Release. Little Crow tried 
to get all to go with him, but they would not. Little 
Crow started away in the night. I didn t see him go. 
I never was out at any of the war parties except 
once at New Ulm (the last fight), once at the fort, at 
Birch Coolie, and Wood Lake. They thought that 
the Winnebagoes would commence at Mankato and 
attack the lower settlements." 





MAJOR JOSEPH E. BROWN S wife and children were 
among the captives at Camp Release. They suffered 
very little ill treatment, for the reason that they were 
related to the Sissetons, and. had powerful friends 
among them. They lived in a very fine stone house, 
elegantly furnished, a few miles below the Yellow 
Medicine Agency, on the opposite side of the river, 
which was afterward destroyed by the savages. Sam 
uel Brown, one of the sons, a remarkably intelligent 
boy of about fifteen years of age, narrated to the writ 
er the following particulars connected with the affair : 

" On Monday, the 18th day of August, I went to 
Yellow Medicine with my sister Ellen upon an er 
rand. "We met on the way an Indian named Little 
Dog, who told us that the Indians had killed a family 
at Beaver Creek, and were going to kill the whites as 
far as St. Paul, and that we must not tell any one 
about it, or they would kill us. He said he warned 
us at the risk of his own life. This was about noon. 
Soon after our arrival at Yellow Medicine, an old 
squaw told us that we had better be getting away, as 
there would soon be trouble. We asked many of the 
other Indians about it, but they said they had heard 
of nothing of the kind. Another squaw afterward 
told us that she thought it must be the Yanktonais 
who were coming down to take the agency. We left 


there about half past three o clock. George Glea- 
son had just left with Mrs. Wakefield and her children 
for below. When we reached home we told mother 
what we had heard. She was very much scared, and 
didn t sleep any that night. About four o clock next 
morning I heard some one outside calling in a loud 
voice a number of times for my mother, and then I 
heard Charles Blair, my brother-in-law (a white man), 
ask what was the matter, and the man, who was a 
half-breed named Eoyer, said that four hundred Yank- 
tonais had arrived at the Upper Agency, and were 
killing every body. We then became very much 
alarmed, and had our oxen yoked at once to the wag 
on, put every thing in it we could, and started for 
Fort Eidgely. We had all the neighbors warned, and 
they went with us. They had three wagons with ox- 
teams. Four or five white men overtook us on the 
way, among them Garvie s cook. (Garvie was the 
trader wounded at the agency, who died at Hutchin- 

" When we had gone about five miles we saw some 
men two miles ahead, near the bank of the river, but 
supposed they were farmers. The Yanktonais, whom 
we were afraid of, lived above us. We thought noth 
ing more about the men until we saw an Indian on a 
hill ahead of us. He beckoned to others, and before 
we knew it we were surrounded. De-wa-nea, of 
Crow s band, and Cut-nose, and Shakopee, three of the 
worst among the Lower Indians, came to us first. We 
were in the head wagon. Mother told them who we 
were, and they said we must follow them, and that we 
were all as good as dead. De-wa-nea said that the 
whites had taken him prisoner a good many times, 



and that it was now his turn. He wanted the rest of 
the Indians to kill us all. 

" There was an Indian in the party, John Moore s 
brother-in-law, who took our part, and he and his 
friends saved us from the others. This Indian had 
once come to our house when he was freezing, and 
my mother took him in and warmed him. He told 
the other Indians that he remembered this, and that 
we should live. They insisted that my brother An 
gus should shoot one of the white men, but he refused 
to do so. Bach of the Indians had one of the white 


men picked out to shoot as they came up. My moth 
er said they were poor men, and it would do no good 
to kill them. John Moore s brother-in-law said they 
should live if she wanted them to. The Indians made 
a great fuss about it, and said she ought to be satisfied 
with what she had got, but afterward consented, and 
told the men to start off. The women staid with us. 
After the men had got off a little, Leopold Wohler, 
who had a lime-kiln at the agency, came back to the 
wagon after his boots, and an Indian told him if he 
didn t go away he would kill him. He started off 
with one boot, and came back again after the other, 
and the Indian drove him away again with the same 
threat. He went a short distance, and returned a 
third time to kiss his wife. The Indians then became 
very much enraged, and acted so fiercely that he was 
glad to escape without farther difficulty. 

" There were ten Indians close to us, and twenty -five 
or thirty near, running into the houses. They made 
Angus and Charles Blair, who were riding horses, dis 
mount and give them up. De-wa-nea put on my sis 
ter s bonnet, and began singing a war song. He was 
very merry. He said the Indians were now going to 
have a good time, and if they got killed it was all 
right ; that the whites wanted to kill them off, and 
were delaying the payment in order to do it by starv 
ation, and that he preferred to be shot. We saw 
three men and a woman on the road terribly hacked 
up. This party had committed the murders. The 
men had been mowing together; their scythes and 
pitchforks lay near. Cut-nose showed us his thumb, 
from which a piece had been bitten near the nail, and 
he said it was done by one of these men while he was 


working the knife around in his breast ; that he was 
very hard to kill, and he thought he would never die. 

" Cut-nose afterward went to a wagon, and told a 
Scotch girl who was in it that he wanted her for his 
wife, and to get out and follow him. She refused, and 
then he drew his knife and flourished it over her, and 
she got out and went away with him. That was the 
last I saw of him until we got to camp. He was 
called Cut-nose because one of his nostrils had been 
bitten out. This was done by Other Day in a quarrel. 

" When we got to the camp of the Kice-Creek In 
dians, four miles above the Bed-Wood Eiver, they 
told us that the Agency Indians had sent word for all 
to come down there, and that those who did not come 
would be taken care of by the Soldiers Lodge. 
They were then about starting, and an Indian made 
Angus and myself hitch up a mule-team which he 
said he had taken from Marsh s men the day before. 
He said they had just heard a cannon at the fort, and 
they wanted to go down and whip the whites there. 
This was about noon. We then went down to John 
Moore s house (this was where Other Day s horse was 
stolen), and they put us up stairs, where they had two 
or three women, captives. We were there about an 
hour, when three Indians told us to come up to their 
camp on the hill, where we were to stop with John 
Moore s mother or grandmother. We followed them, 
and when we got half way up suddenly missed them. 
We supposed they hid from us, and we wandered on. 
We met a German woman who had seven or eight 
children with her, all under eight years of age two 
on her back, one under each arm, and two following 
behind. They came along with us. We went to 


Moore s relative, but she said she knew nothing about 
us, and couldn t take us, and that we had better go 
down to Crow s village. We started, not knowing 
where to go, when a squaw, who was crying about 
the troubles, met us, and took us home with her. 
The Indians sent our team back to the camp. They 
gave Angus and I blankets and moccasins, and we 
put them on and went down to see Little Crow. He 
told us to bring our folks down there, and, no one 
should hurt us. This was Tuesday evening about 
seven o clock. He was in his own house, and the 
camp was pitched around it. We went back and 
brought our folks down. Crow put us up in the top 
room of the house, and gave us buffalo robes and ev 
ery thing to make us comfortable. He brought us a 
candle as soon as it was dark ; he was very kind to 
us ; he said he would take as good care of us as he 
could, but that he didn t believe he could keep Char 
ley Blair alive until morning. He gave him a breech- 
clout and leggins, which he put on. 

"During the night an Indian or a half-breed came 
in the room down stairs where Crow was, and told 
him that we ought to be killed. We overheard what 
they said. The man was very ugly, and said no pris 
oners ought to be taken, and that we were related to 
the Sissetons, and had no claim on the Lower Indians, 
and there was no reason why we should be spared. 
He said he wanted Crow to call a council about it im 
mediately. Crow told him that he saved us because 
we were his friends, and that he would protect us ; 
that it was too late to hold a council that night, and 
he compelled him to leave. 

"He gave us plenty to eat, and came up several 


times during the night to see how we were getting 
along. We begged him to let Charley Blair go. He 
said he couldn t ; that the Indians knew he was there, 
and would kill him (Crow) if he allowed it. We 
coaxed him for a couple of hours, when he consented, 
and brought an Indian who took Charley down to the 
river and left him in the brush. He made his escape 
from there to the fort. Crow told us not to say any 
thing about it, for the Indians would kill him, and 
that he did it because he had known our folks and 
Charley so long. He said the young men started the 
massacre, and he couldn t stop them. A week after 
that, Akipa, an Upper Indian, came down from the 
Yellow-Medicine Agency and took us up with him. 
From that time until our deliverance we remained 
with our relatives, and were well treated by them." 



AMONG the captives who were brought in several 
days after our arrival at Camp Eelease was Mrs. So 
phia Josephine Huggins, the wife of the estimable 
missionary who was killed at Lac qui Parle. She has 
published the following narrative of her adventures. 
It is interesting for the minuteness of the details of 
her captivity : 

" The 19th day of August, 1862, dawned on me 
full of hope and happiness. It was the twenty -fourth 
anniversary of my birth. But before its close it 
proved to be the saddest day of my life. News of 
the war which broke out at the Lower Agency on 
the 18th did not reach Lac qui Parle until the next 
day. Then it came with fearful suddenness and fear 
ful reality. 

" On the afternoon of that day three men from Red 
Iron s village came in, each carrying a gun. They 
were quite friendly and talkative, seeming very much 
interested in the sewing-machine Julia was using, and 
asked a great many questions about it. About four 
o clock Amos came home from the field. Then the 
men went out ; and soon after we heard the report of 
two guns. The Indians rushed in, looking so wild 
and frightened that my first thought was that the 
Chippeways were upon them. They said to us, Go 
out, go out ; you shall live but go out. Take 


nothing with you. When I went out, the oxen my 
husband had been driving were standing at the side 
of the house, and near them was Julia on her knees, 
bending over the motionless body. She looked up 
and said, Oh Josephine, Josephine ! What an ocean 

of grief rolled over me. 

* * * * * 

"We were driven awaj^, Julia and I. We ran 
over to De Cota s. Julia went first, carrying Letta, 
I staid behind until I saw they were really going to 
shoot me. Then, after hastily spreading a lounge 
cover that I had been sewing on, and had carried out 
with me, over the lifeless form of my dear one, I fled 
with Charlie in my arms. When I reached De Cota s, 
he and his wife were starting back with Julia. I 
wanted to go with them, but they thought it would 
not be safe. I knew Julia would see that every thing 
which it was possible to do should be done, so I yield 
ed to their judgment. 

" Mr. De Cota came home shortly. I asked him if 
he could not take us to the Yellow Medicine. He 
said that we would be killed on the road. I then 
suggested that he should take us across the river, and 
go across the country to the white settlements. He 
answered that perhaps he would start to the Eed 
Eiver the next day. 

" When Julia returned, she told me that Walking 
Spirit and others had buried Amos. The old chief 
was full of sorrow, and said that if he had been there 
they should have killed him before they could have 
killed Mr. Huggins. 

"Our house was full of plunderers. Indians from 
the Lac qui Parle villages were there as well as the 


murderers. Julia went in, and was able to get a few 
things, which afterward proved valuable to me. 

" It was thought we would be safer at Walking 
Spirit s than at De Cota s, so we went over in the even 
ing. Mrs. De Cota intended to go with us, but her 
husband prevented it, probably thinking he would 
not be safe if she left him. She sent her brother, 
Blue Lightning, with us. He did not offer to carry 
either of the children. 

" We had not gone far before Ke-yoo-kan-pe came 
up to us, and, taking Charlie out of my arms, carried 
him until we reached the village. As we passed 
through it, a great many women came out to shake 
hands with me. Some of them laid their hands on 
their mouths and groaned. The men paid no atten 
tion to me. When we reached the chief s house he 
received us kindly, shaking hands with me and with 
the children. His wife hurried to spread a buffalo 
robe at the farther end of the room for us to sit on. 
All the time that I was with Walking Spirit my 
seat was, whether in a tent or in a house, at the end 
farthest from the door the most honorable place. 
We slept on the robe, but were furnished with pil 
lows by the chief s wife, one of which I recognized as 
having been mine. She gave me several other arti 
cles which had been mine. 

"There was a great deal of noise in the village dur 
ing the night loud talking, singing, and yelling; but 
the children slept soundly, not realizing what had be 
fallen them, nor the dangers before them. Men went 
and came through the whole night long to talk to the 

" The next morning we had beef for breakfast 


which had been killed at our house the evening be 
fore. They gave me, as they always did, bountifully 
of the best they had. 

" In the afternoon Mr. John Longee invited us over 
to his house across the river, thinking we would be 
safer there than in the Indian village. Walking 
Spirit told us to do as we thought best, and we finally 
concluded to go. One woman packed Letta all the 
way ; another packed Charlie as far as Lame Bear s 
village. As we passed through it I saw a great deal 
of fresh beef hanging up to dry. My husband s writ 
ing desk was there ; also many of our chairs. I saw 
Indian children dressed in my children s clothes. I 
could hardly bear these reminders of the home which 
had been so cruelly torn from me. I did not, how 
ever, see any Indians that I knew except Old Fuss. 
He shook hands with me, and made a speech, of 
which I understood nothing but Amos s name. 

" We staid at Longee s until Friday, and had a quiet, 
lonely time. We saw no Indians while there except 
the woman who packed Letta over. She staid with 
us all the time. Julia and I were in constant alarm. 
Longee and a Frenchman always slept with their guns 
beside them, in readiness for use, or staid outside 
watching. Thursday, Mr. Longee went over to the 
village, and brought back dreadful accounts of the 
war below. It was reported that the missionaries and 
the whites at both agencies were killed. Oh what a 
day that was full of grief, anxiety, and surprise. 
Julia had saved two pocket Bibles from the hands of 
the plunderers. One of them was my husband s. 
How precious it was to me ! Precious for the sake 
of him who had once pondered its sacred pages, as 


well as for the blessed teachings and glorious promises 
it contained. 

"In the evening Julia s brother came up from be 
low, dressed like an Indian. He said that he had 
come for her, and that if she put on the Indian dress, 
and staid with him, she would be safe, but that it 
would not be prudent for me to accompany them. 
Mr. De Cota was there, and invited me to live in his 
family. It was decided that I should do so. 

" A white man, who had escaped from Big Stone 
Lake, came in that night. Mr. Longee gave him a 
pair of moccasins and some food. Every one advised 
the Frenchman to go with him, but he refused to do 
so. After a few weeks he went with Mr. Longee to 
Eed Eiver. 

" Friday morning Julia left me. She had been my 
comforter, my adviser, my help in all my troubles. 
Now I was left alone. I realized more than ever my 
need of strength and fortitude, and prayed that I might 
be prepared for whatever I might be called to pass 

" After Julia had gone, Mr. Longee and I started to 
"Walking Spirit s village. We went on horseback, 
carrying the children. How I suffered with fear as 
we trotted along through the woods. It seemed as if 
every tree hid some skulking foe, ready to spring out 
and murder us. When we reached Lame Bear s vil 
lage, Longee thought it best not to go any farther, as 
there were a good many men about, and we should be 
noticed on horseback. After finding an Indian woman 
to go with me and pack Letta, he bade me good-by. 
I carried Charlie in my arms, and as I had eaten noth 
ing that day, I felt faint and sick. As we were pass- 


ing through the village a woman called after me. I 
looked around, and then went on. She ran after me, 
and finally made me understand that she wished me 
to go to her house and eat. I told her as well as I 
could that I was going to Walking Spirit s, and would 
eat there. She seemed satisfied and went back. Pres 
ently another woman hailed me. When she came up 
she took Charlie and put him on her back, motioning 
me to follow, which I did as well as I could. When 
we came to the strip of woods that lies between the 
two villages, the women were afraid of something, I 
don t know what. They told me to go before; so I 
led the way, trembling with fear. When I reached 
De Cota s, Mrs. De Cota, who was standing outside of 
the tent, motioned me to go to the chief s house. 
What did it mean? Did they not invite me there? 
Mr. De Cota was sitting near by, but as he did not 
look at me, I passed on without speaking. I felt so 
hurt so much disappointed ! What should I do if 
I received as cold a reception at Walking Spirit s? 
How thankful I was when I went in and met a kind 
welcome from the chief s wife. Here I found food 
and water for myself and children. I was so tired, 
so sad, that I did not try to speak or ask for any thing; 
but she seemed to understand how I felt, and kindly, 
even tenderly supplied my wants. 

" Walking Spirit was not at home, and did not come 
home until several days afterward. When he came 
and saw me, his cheery * Ho-ho-ho, as he held out his 
hand to me, sounded very pleasantly. Then he talked 
to me very kindly, I know, though I could not under 
stand much of what he said. I understood that he 
told me to stay there in his house, and that when he 




could he would take me to my friends below. My 
poor, weary, anxious heart felt comforted. This old 
man was my friend and protector. I could here find 
something like rest and security. 

" For the next six weeks I found a home in Walk 
ing Spirit s family. True, I was a captive in an ene 
my s country, longing for deliverance subject to 
many inconveniences, many hardships ; but the chief 
and his wife were kind to me, and made my life as 
light as possible. Here my husband s Bible was my 
constant companion. 

" Walking Spirit s family consisted of himself and 
wife, and his wife s mother, and one son, ISTa-ho-ton- 
ma-ne, a boy fourteen or fifteen years old. These, 
with myself and children, made a family of seven. 
Besides, the chief had children and grandchildren in 
the village, who were in to see us so often as to form 
a part of the same family. We had also many other 
visitors. If they spoke to me at all, it was with kind 
ness and respect. They frequently said, The white 
woman feels sad ; I want to shake hands with her. 

"I soon learned to adopt myself to the life and cir 
cumstances about me, and make one in the society in 
which I lived. I always tried to be cheerful and 
pleasant to others, and in so doing found enjoyment 
and even happiness myself. I assisted the chief s 
wife in sewing, cooking, and bringing water from the 
brook. I was seldom asked to do any thing, but did 
what I chose to do. 

" The chief and his wife never seemed displeased 
with me but once. Then I had gone over to Sacred 
Nest s, and had staid nearly all day. When I went 
back the chief said that I did not do right to go away 


and stay so long that it was good for me to stay in 
his house. His wife remarked that the Sissetonwans 
would come down, and they might kill me if I did 
not stay there. After that I did not go to the neigh 
bors tepees unless I was sent for to eat, and then I 
did not stay long. 

" The children, who were not afraid of any one, 
were petted and caressed. Letta was taught to call 
the chief grandfather, and his wife grandmother. The 
chief s son she called uncle. 

lt One day, a few weeks after I went there, the 
chief s wife s brothers came in, bringing a French 
man, who spoke some English, for interpreter, and 
asked me if I would not give him one of my children. 
He said he lived up north ; that he had no children ; 
and if I would give him one of mine, he would keep 
it as his own child. I saw that the man was really 
in earnest, and I answered very decidedly, No ; I can 
not give either of them to any one. After waiting a 
few minutes, I said, "What is he going to do about it 
what does he say ? The Frenchman replied, He 
will not take them if you do not give them to him. 
The chief was in, and I thought perhaps this was his 
answer instead of the other man s. 

" They talked some time with the chief, but did not 
say any thing more to me. Afterward the old woman 
seemed displeased about it. She said, I thought you 
would have given Letta to him, but you did not. 
She had often before asked me something about Letta 
which I did not understand. I now know that she 
had wanted me to give her to her son. She never 
forgave this offense, but often reminded me of it. 
She had loved both the children very much before 


this, but now she treated them with great indifference, 
and sometimes was quite cross to them. I did not 
pay any attention to this, and so we had no quarrels. 
But I was very much afraid my children would be 
stolen. I was afraid to leave them with the old 
woman when I went for water, as I had often done 
before. I was afraid to see them packed around by 
the Indian women, as they often were; and at night, 
I was afraid they would be taken from me while I 

" Indian living did not agree with Charlie. It was 
not long before he became quite unwell, and he did 
not regain his health during our stay with the In 
dians. For many days together we had no bread. 
We lived mostly on corn and potatoes, of which we 
had plenty. Sometimes we had beef and sometimes 
dog meat. Once in a while we had coffee and sugar. 
When our neighbors had something better than we 
had, they often sent some to me, or, more frequently, 
sent me to go and eat with them. 

" One night, at bedtime, some one came for me to 
go out and eat. I was not hungry, but never refused 
to go when sent for. Walking Spirit was invited, and 
went also. We had a good supper. There was a 
piece of nice carpet spread for me to sit on, and a 
white towel to put my plate on. I had one of my 
plates that I used to have to eat on, and one of my 
sauce-plates to drink out of. We had potatoes, rice, 
dried apples, and cold water for supper. The chief 
carried home the remains of his supper to his wife, 
but I always left what I and my children could not eat. 

" Sometimes, when I thought of the dirty dishes 
my food was on, the dirty kettles it was cooked in, 



and the dirty hands that prepared it, my stomach re 
belled. But I tried to keep away such troublesome 
thoughts, and make the best of what I had. 

" When I first went to Walking Spirit s, I was per 
plexed to know what to wash in. They had neither 
wash-basin nor tub. Seeing my difficulty, the chief s 
wife went to one of the neighbors and brought home 
the half of a powder-keg, which she gave me. This I 
found a great convenience as long as I staid there. 
When I wanted to wash my children s clothes, I clean 
ed out and used an old iron heater that was used as a 
dog s dish. Sometimes I had soap and sometimes I 
had none. Once or twice the chief s wife borrowed a 
tub and washboard for me from the Frenchman s wife 
that lived in the village. The washboard was one that 
had been mine. I was thankful to get clean clothes 
for myself and children, though they were unironed. 

" The Indian dress that De Cota had promised me 
I never got. I wore my own clothes all the time. 
There were a good many articles of clothing given to 
me while I was in the village, most of those things 
that had been plundered from our house. I never 
asked for any thing, though I frequently saw some of 
my things that I and my children really needed worn 
by the Indian women and their children. Sometimes 
I saw Indian men wearing articles of clothing that 
had belonged to Mr. Huggins. 

" Sacred Nest and wife were out on a buffalo hunt 
when I went to the village, and did not come home 
for a week or two afterward. When they came to 
see me I felt that I had met with loving, sympathizing 
friends. They sat down and wept with me. Letta 
was overjoyed at seeing again her Indian mother, as 


she called Sacred Nest s wife. She took her in her 
arms and stroked her, and said, Poor thing poor 
thing ! Sacred Nest said to me, It is hard, very 
hard I And then he said, God is good, though all 
men are bad. With Him it is light, though all was 
dark here. The same day they sent for us to eat 
with them. When we came away they gave Letta as 
much buffalo meat as she could carry home. 

" Sabbath days in our village were very much like 
other days. I tried to keep the time and remember 
the Sabbath, but I found afterward that I had got one 
day behind the time. I do not know how many 
Mondays I kept for Sunday. 

"One day the chief s wife called me out to see 
something. On the road, coming down from the 
north, was a great company of Indians. The women 
of the village gathered around me, and told me I must 
stay in the house very closely while they were going 
past that I must not let them see me. I went into 
the house, but presently the chief s wife came and 
hurried me into the tent that stood by, and told me 
to be very quiet that I must not let the children 
cry or even talk loud. The Northerners were com 
ing right to the village. I could see a great many 
warriors on horseback, a great many carts, and a great 
many people on foot. It looked to me like a very 
great multitude. I almost smothered the children 
trying to keep them quiet, for they would talk and 
cry to go out. At last I frightened them into some 
thing like quietude by telling them that there were 
wicked men out there who would hurt them. 

" On, on came the host, right past where we were, 
and then stopped a little distance off. The children 


were frightened into silence by the noise they made. 
I could look out of a hole in the tent and see almost 
as well as if I had been on the outside. There were 
very few women among them I think not more than 
one woman to six men. There was great excitement 
in the village ; men, women, and children were run 
ning about as if they did not know what to do. 
Many of them were preparing and carrying food to 
our formidable visitors. I think the Indians were 
frightened as well as myself. The warriors galloped 
about as if to show themselves, frequently firing off 
guns. Then I heard one chief s voice sounding loud 
above all others. I could see him. He was holding 
his head high, walking slowly back and forth, making 
a speech. I wondered what he was talking about, 
but I understood nothing. Before noon they were 
gone, and our village was again quiet. 

"A day or two after the Northerners had gone 
down, all the men in the village went away Walk 
ing Spirit on his old horse, Na-ho-ton-ma-ne on his 
colt, and Mrs. Walking Spirit on foot, packing food, 
followed the rest. For three days and two nights the 
old woman and I were left alone. This was before I 
had offended her, and she was very kind to me and 
my children. I suffered terribly from fear from 
morning till night and from night till morning I was 
afraid but nothing came to disturb us. 

" Between one and two weeks after the Northern 
ers went down, some of these passed up north, and 
stopped at our village. I was not taken to the tent 
this time. Walking Spirit told me they were coming 
to his house to eat after a while, but that I need not 
be afraid ; he would not let any one hurt rne. An 


Lour or two afterward he came in and said, They 
are coming now; they will sit here, and here, and 
here; they will fill up the house; you must come 
and sit here behind me. His place was near the door, 
on the right-hand side. He kept two guns by him, 
and told me several times that I need not be afraid ; 
if any one tried to harm me, he would shoot him. 

" So the children and I got in behind him, and 
awaited the coming of the guests. It was as the chief 
said it would be ; the men filled the house ; some of 
them were Walking Spirit s soldiers; the rest were 
Northerners. The women carried food to the door, 
but did not come in. The dinner consisted of fried 
bread and coffee. "Walking Spirit, and several others 
that sat near, gave the children bread, and let them 
drink out of their cups of coffee. There were several 
speeches made, but I did not understand what they 
talked about. The Northerners went away first. 
After they were gone, the chief turned to me and 
said, These are all my soldiers. Perhaps he intend 
ed to let me know that the danger was past. After 
talking a little while the men all left, and things went 
on as usual. 

"One day, when we were all out braiding corn, 
some one brought a letter to the chief. As he could 
not read it himself, he handed it to me to look at. It 
was a nice-looking letter, written in Dakota, directed 
to Walking Spirit. When I told him I could not 
read it, he said he would take it to Sacred Nest ; he 
would read it to him. I waited anxiously to hear the 
news from this letter, hoping that it might bring some 
word to me from friends below. 

" When the chief came back, he said that Good 


Day, a man who lived at the Yellow Medicine, had 
written the letter. Then he said to me, That letter 
made me very angry. He wants you to go and live 
with him. Presently he said, Do you want to go ? 
I said I did not know, and asked him if Good Day 
was a good man. He said, No, he is a bad man. 
Seeing that I still thought about it, and did not un 
derstand all he said, he went and brought the French 
man to tell me in English. He said, Good Day want 
ed to buy me for a wife ; that he already had a wife ; 
and the chief was very angry at Good Day because 
he had thought of such a thing. Then the old chief 
showed me how he had thrown the letter in the fire, 
because he was so very angry. 

" One day, when the old woman and I were alone 
in the house, she started out, saying that she would 
soon be back ; that I must stay in the house, for there 
was a bad man in the village who would kill me. 
This is what I understood her to say, but I did not 
understand her fully. Very soon afterward the blank 
et door of the house was thrown up, and there came 
in a young man with a drawn sword in his hand. 
He looked very fierce, and his face was painted most 
frightfully. One of the neighbor s children followed 
him in, and looked at him and then at me with a look 
of terror ; then he ran out. 

" Walking Spirit was in another part of the village, 
and the little boy ran as fast as he could, and told him 
that there was an angry man in his house going to 
kill the white woman. I supposed this to be the man 
the old woman had told me of, and that he had come 
on purpose to kill me. I wonder now. at the presence 
of mind I felt then. I made a great effort to show 


no fear, no surprise. I looked up at him once, and 
then bent my face again over my sewing, though I 
trembled so violently that it was with difficulty I held 
my needle. 

"After looking at me a moment without speak 
ing, he went away. I drew a long breath then, 
and thought, He is gone, and I and my children are 
saved alive. A moment after and the chief came 
running. He sprang in at the door, puffing and pant 
ing, with his hair all blown over his face. I looked 
up and smiled, saying, c You frighten me, coming up 
in such a hurry. You frighten me] he replied, as he 
sat down to rest ; I was afraid you would be killed 
before I got here. 

"The women came in presently and told us all 
about the angry man. He did not want to kill me, 
but his wife, who had run away from him. He had 
come into the chief s house in search of her. He 
found her soon afterward, but did not kill her; he 
only cut up her pack with his sword. 

" I met with several such frights as this, but always 
passed through unharmed. When there were stran 
gers about I was frequently hid in the tent that stood 
by the house. I never tried to hide unless I was 
told to do so, and then I remained in my hiding-place 
until they told me the danger was past. 

"Several days before we started north they told 
me that the Indians were all going north that Julia, 
and her brothers, and the white prisoners below were 
all going. They told me of a great many white sol 
diers that were down below somewhere. They said 
that Mr. Riggs and Dr. Williamson were among them. 
I did not understand the half of what they told me. 


I could only conjecture, and wish, and wonder. Walk 
ing Spirit told me several times that if Mr. Kiggs and 
Dr. Williamson sent for him, he would take me and 
the children in a wagon and go. I thought I could 
not do better than to wait patiently until the time of 
my deliverance came. 

" The whole village was now preparing for their 
journey, gathering and burying corn and potatoes, 
pounding corn off the cob to take with them, and 
bundling up their goods. Some kept their wagons 
partly loaded all the time. Every one was in a hurry, 
and I helped all I could. The chief s wife and I, with 
some assistance from her mother and the chief him 
self, pounded corn until we had filled five sacks, for 
our provisions by the way. We had as many sacks 
of potatoes, but no meat or flour. 

" The women seemed to regret very much leaving 
home, and said they were going to a bad country, 
where they would have no wood, and very little to 
eat. At last word came that the white prisoners were 
all killed, and that the Indians who did not flee north 
would be killed in consequence. A great many In 
dians were on the road that day, and most of our 
village went. The chief was almost the last to go. 

" At night we camped in a valley, pitched our tent, 
staked out the animals, and ate a supper of skunk 
and potatoes. Oh how lonely and quiet it was that 
night. I enjoyed the solitude, and peaceful trust filled 
my heart. I loved to think of God s beautiful works 
all around and above us, and of his protecting, loving 
care guarding and guiding us. 

" Early the next morning a man rode up to the tent 


and called out something that made the family all start 
to their feet. They pulled down the tent, hurried 
things into the wagon, and started as quickly as pos 
sible. We soon joined a company of Indians, and 
traveled until afternoon without stopping. I had a 
little parched corn for the children, but they, as well 
as myself, were tired and hungry. Charlie was sick 
and fretful. 

" We traveled on for four days, over beautiful prai 
ries, and in sight of beautiful lakes. Sometimes I felt 
cheerful, and sometimes very sad and desponding. 
Charlie was growing weaker every day. I feared he 
could not endure Indian life much longer, and I saw 
no prospect of rescue. How hard it was to think that 
my darling might die. Then, too, came the fear that 
we might all starve during the coming winter. An 
other fear was that Little Crow s people, or some of 
the Northerners, would overpower Walking Spirit, 
and take me. How I suffered when I thought of these 
things. But, generally, I felt hopeful that some way 
would be provided, and we be rescued to our friends, 
who, I knew, were earnestly praying for our release. 

"Sometimes, as we were traveling, my Indian friends 
would see what they supposed might be enemies, and 
they would bid me lie down and cover up. I always 
hid when they told me to, without waiting to see what 
or where the danger was. 

" One day our company had stopped for dinner, and 
some other Indians came into camp. Among them 
were Sacred Nest and his wife. Letta ran to meet 
them, reaching out her arms, and screaming, * My In 
dian mother, my Indian mother. Mrs. Sacred Nest 
took her up, and kissed her most affectionately, and 


gave her a piece of bread wrapped in white cotton. 
She had brought it from home on purpose for Letta. 

" The last night before we started back we camped 
in company with a great number of Indians. They 
had a great many wagons, horses, and cattle. I count 
ed about eighty yoke of oxen. Mrs. Walking Spirit 
said there were a great many bad Indians there. In 
the morning, a man brought some news which I did 
not understand; and when the chief s wife told me 
something about it, and asked if I was glad, and want 
ed to go, I said, I don t know. When we started 
that morning, we left the rest of the company and 
turned back. I did not know what it meant, and was 
afraid to hope. Still I did hope, and was in a feverish 
state of anxiety and surprise. At noon we camped, 
and the family bustled about preparing for visitors. 
We seated ourselves in the tent. Oh, how my heart 
burned with surprise and delight when Enos Grood 
Hail, Lazarus Eusty, and, in a moment, Kobert Hop 
kins and David Eenville. entered. They looked so 
pleased and happy that I knew they had good news. 
When they were seated, Enos drew two letters from 
his pocket ; one for Walking Spirit, from Colonel Sib- 
ley, written in English, and translated by Mr. Riggs. 
Walking Spirit sent for Sacred Nest to come and read 
his letter to him. While it was being read twice 
once by Sacred Nest and once by Enos, the pipe was 
passed around the circle, each smoking in his turn. 
The chief handed it to me, saying that he was sent for, 
and was going, and then inquired who had written my 
letter, and what it contained. 

" Colonel Sibley was then camped with his soldiers 
near Lac qui Parle, and had sent for me by these 


Friendly Indians. Here, then, was deliverance. I 
could not sleep that night, my thoughts were so busy. 
Next morning, while the chief s wife prepared break 
fast, I mended the chief s clothes, so that he might ap 
pear as respectably as possible. I finished, and gave 
her the thread and scissors. She handed the scissors 
back, telling me to keep them. They shall always be 
a remembrance of her. 

" Then I bade my friends good-by, and went with 
the men who had been sent for me. Sacred Nest gen 
erously gave his wagon for our use. Enos Good Hail 
brought two German girls and a half-breed boy to go 
with us. He cried as if his heart would break to leave 
the woman who had taken care of him. In a short 
time I succeeded in comforting him. The girls talked 
in German almost continually. 

" The first night we camped near where the old 
trading posts at Big Stone Lake had been. Lame Bear 
and some of his people were camped there. "We were 
very hospitably entertained by them. Some one lent 
us a tent. Enos Good Hail made a bed for me and 
my children, and assisted us in every way possible. 
I was very tired and almost sick. 

u The day before we reached Camp Eelease we 
passed twelve men seated on the ground smoking. 
They were fine-looking fellows, painted most savagely. 
They looked like warriors and murderers. I was sure 
Good Hail was afraid of them, though he stopped to 
talk and smoke with them. When he went on he 
drove very fast, frequently looking back, as if he fear 
ed pursuit. That night we camped in sight of Lac 
qui Parle. We left the wagon, and camped some dis 
tance from the road, at the foot of a hill. (This was 


Dakota precaution against enemies.) The children 
and I had all the bedding there was ; but the night 
was cold, and we had no tent, so that we suffered some 
what. I lay awake nearly all night, in great fear of 
the men we saw the day before. 

" When we passed the place the next day which I 
once called home, Enos and Walking Spirit went with 
me to the grave of my husband. We drove in stakes 
to protect it as well as we could. Then I walked 
around the desolated place where our houses had been 
went to the stream where Amos used to catch fish, 
and to every familiar spot. Much was unchanged, 
and yet how much was changed how much was gone ! 

" An hour s ride brought us to Camp Eelease. I 
was worn down, faint, and sick, for the fatigue and 
excitement of the last three days had quite prostrated 
me. During the two weeks which we spent in the 
camp, Charlie and I gained in health and strength. 
Then we proceeded on our way to join our friends 

In addition to the above facts, showing the kind 
treatment which Mrs. Huggins received during her 
captivity, she tells us how delicately her need of a 
shawl was supplied by an Indian woman, who came 
up behind her, and placed one on her shoulders. An 
other Dakota woman, Amanda, often sent milk to 
Letta and Charlie. She also went down to the Yellow 
Medicine to get flour for the white woman who had 
sought their protection. 

"We have a white woman with us," she said, "and 
we keep her very carefully ; we don t allow a young 
man to speak to her." 







ON the 21st of October a perfect hurricane swept 
over our camp. The air was dark with cinders and 
smoke from the burning prairies. Trees were torn 
up by the roots, and the tents blown down over our 
heads. Through this storm Lieutenant Colonel Mar 
shall and two hundred men, who had been on an ex 
pedition into Dakota Territory, arrived with a crowd 
of prisoners, whom he had captured upon Wild-Goose- 
Nest Lake. We were only waiting his arrival to 
break up our camp,* and on the 23d the tents were 
struck, and, with the Indian prisoners in wagons, we 
commenced our homeward march. At Yellow Medi 
cine we took in the other prisoners. The march this 
day was terrible, and rapidly extracted the joke of 
soldier life. Old ^Eolus seemed to be re-enacting the 
same lively little operation which Yirgil describes him 
doing at the instigation of the cruel Juno, except that 
he now mingled the land instead of the sea with the 
sky. The dust drove in darkening clouds across the 
prairie, filling the eyes, ears, noses, and faces of our 
poor soldiers, and giving them the appearance of hav 
ing been suddenly resurrected from dirty graves ; and 
the cold was so intense that they shivered as if in fear 
that Death was hurrying fast behind, to re-consign 

* Before we left, Colonel Sibley received news of his appointment 
to the position of brigadier general. 


them to the abodes which they had prematurely left. 
Horses would turn from the road, back up against the 
wind, and neither whip nor spur could urge them for 
ward ; and so we left them, soon to fall upon the prai 
ries, and remain melancholy memorials of our army s 
returning march. But the next day the sun shone 
brightly ; the clear autumn air was calmly at rest ; 
and great flocks of geese, and brant, and vari-colored 
ducks, and cranes, with their clattering cry, wheeled 
over our heads and drew the soldiers fire. That 
night we pitched our tents in the valley of the Eed- 

The Indian camp, consisting principally of women 
and children, had been previously removed to this 
place from Yellow Medicine. "When the squaws 
caught sight of our train, and saw their fathers, and 
uncles, and brothers chained in the wagons, they be 
gan to weep, and set up a dismal wail. "See our 
poor friends," they said; " they are prisoners, and hun 
gry and cold." Antoine Frenier, the interpreter, told 
them that there were forty-five white men, women, 
and children lying unburied on the other side of the 
Minnesota, who had been cruelly murdered by these 
same men, and that they then shed no tears, and that 
they had better recollect this and remain quiet. This 
effected a quietus. 

Two or three days before our arrival, a woman was 
found, with her two little daughters, on the opposite 
side of the river. They had been in the woods over 
nine weeks, and knew nothing of what had transpired. 
When discovered, they were in a house which they 
had entered to die. The whites they supposed to be 
Indians when they first entered, and they covered up 


their heads to receive the fatal blow. The poor crea 
tures were starved to mere skeletons, and it seemed as 
if the convulsions of joy which they experienced at 
their rescue would break their hearts. Strong-mind 
ed men, as they gazed at their emaciated, sorrow- 
stricken faces, bowed their heads and shed tears like 
girls. When the mother fled from the massacre she 
had another child, an infant, which she carried in her 
arms. The other children " walked and ran painfully 
along by her side through the tangled brush and brier 
vines. They lived on wild plums and berries, and 
when those were gone by the frost, on grape tendrils 
and roots. At night they cowered like a brood of 
partridges, trembling, starving, nearly dead. The in 
fant was taken home to heaven. The mother laid its 
body under a plum-tree, scraped together a heap of 
dried leaves and covered it, placed a few sticks over 
them to prevent the rude winds from blowing them 
away, then, looking hastily around, again fled with the 


Several weeks were spent at the Lower Agency, 
the trials still progressing. Here was the most com 
fortable camping-ground that had fallen to our lot 
during the campaign. We were located on a high 
plain, and wood and water were within easy access. 
The ferry was put in running order, and thereby was 
furnished an easy transit for foraging parties and 
those desirous of going to Fort Eidgely. The build 
ings left by the savages were occupied for hospital 
and other purposes. Stoves in abundance were ob 
tained, and protruded their blackened pipes from the 
tent-tops. For those who desired fireplaces, conven 
ient bricks were at hand for their construction. Col- 


onel Crooks had one of these in his tent, and the blaz 
ing brands reminded one of home, and suggested gay, 
hilarious times. Men will make themselves comfort 
able in camp. If logs are not to be found, they will 
build houses from sods and dig holes in the ground, 
as some of our men did at Camp Kelease. We still 
continued to find victims of the massacre. On the 
29th a foraging party crossed the river, and eleven 
miles above discovered the remains of twelve persons. 
In one house a skull lay upon the bed, and in the 
same room lay a dead hog, who had probably been 
feeding on the dead. Close to the house the party 
were saluted by two howling, half-starved dogs. The 
next day they went out again, and, a short distance 
above the same place, found the bones of thirteen 
more bodies. One skeleton was evidently that of a 
strong, powerful man ; the skull was fractured into 
bits. Cattle were running around almost as wild as 
buffaloes. An ox was writhing on the ground in ag 
ony, and frothing at the mouth, apparently with hy 
drophobia. Many of the dogs there are said to have 
gone mad. Desolation reigned supreme. A flag of 
truce would not have saved the murderers had they 
made their appearance on that scene of inhuman 
butchery. Many other bones were found in that 
neighborhood, and among them those of the persons 
which Antoine Frenier saw on his way to Yellow 
Medicine. The house where the little children were 
had been burned, and the charred remains were in 
the ruins. Henceforth, for many a year on our bor 
ders, Indian hunters will be found who will emulate 
those of whom the early history of our country tells, 
bent on war to the death with the savage foe. Men 





whose wives and children have been brutally mur 
dered, and hearthstones blasted forever, will never 
rest till blood has answered for blood. God s fierce 
avengers in the future ! success to their unerring ri 

Soon after our arrival the Indians were brought 
down from the Bed -Wood Eiver, and their camp 
placed near ours, around the walls of the church which 
charitable and pious hands had reared for their bene 
fit. The male prisoners were confined in the jail 
which had recently been constructed, and the trials 
were conducted in a log building heretofore occupied 
by the murdered mixed-blood, La Batte, for unroman- 
tic kitchen purposes, but now destined to pass into 
history and be immortalized. The avenging Nemesis 
had brought the guilty to an appropriate spot, and 
that on eagle wings, for here it was that the mad sat 
urnalia first began. The fire had scarcely died out in 
the ruins of the goodly buildings which they destroy 
ed, or the blood of their murdered, mangled victims 
sunk in the ground. A few hours after our arrival 
the charred bones of a victim were taken from the 
ruins of one of the houses, and the unburied remains 
of one of Marsh s men found near the ferry. Almost 
within stone s throw was the battle-ground of Birch 
Coolie. The dirt on the graves of the slain was yet 
fresh. You could see, as if it was done but yester 
day, behind every little bush and hillock the marks 
where the savages had lain when they fired upon the 
camp, and the trails which they made over the grass 
in crawling toward it. The splinters made by the 
bullets were still hanging upon the trees, and the dead 
horses massed around and through the intrenchments, 


though much wasted, were easily distinguishable from 
one another. All that was needed to complete the 
deep tragedy of the spot was the erection of a mighty 
gallows one partaking of the gigantesque and the 
culprits launched together from it into eternity, there 
to hang until the elements should scatter their dust to 
the winds. 

The only enemy that threatened us here was the prai 
rie fire. Lighting up the heavens with lurid flames, 
roaring through the tall, dry grass, it came down upon 
us like " an army with banners" with the rush of the 
storm. The whole force turned out to " fight fire with 
fire," but a lucky wind changed it to another direction. 

On the 7th of November, Colonel Marshall, with the 
inmates of the Indian camp, about 1500 in all, consist 
ing of women and children, and a few innocent males, 
started for Fort Snelling. When the outrage broke 
out the Indians said that they would winter their 
squaws near St. Paul. The prediction was to be ac 
complished, but the fact was not to be as agreeable as 

At six o clock our drums were beating for forward 
march. The general was one of the earliest of risers. 
He had all the camp aroused and at breakfast before 
four. It was a disagreeable morning ; " the owl 
through all his feathers was a-cold," and so were bold 
" sojer" boys. We soon cantered away, and left the 
aforesaid quondam kitchen, but henceforth immortal 
ized court-house, in which three of us had slumbered 
cozily for many a pleasant night (and which the gen 
eral therefore playfully characterized as a " den"), 
probably forever. When the command passed New 
Ulm the inhabitants were engaged in disinterring the 

SfTY 1 



dead from the street for more appropriate burial. 
Hearing that we were passing by, they all rushed 
forth, men, women, and children, armed with clubs, 
pitchforks, hoes, brickbats, knives, and guns, and at 
tacked the prisoners. The women were perfectly fu 
rious ; they danced around with their aprons full of 
stones, and cried for an opportunity to get at the pris 
oners, upon whom they poured the most violent abuse. 
Many rushed forward and discharged a shower of 
stones. One woman, who had a long knife in her 
hand, was especially violent in her demonstrations, 
and another pounded an Indian in the face till she 
broke his jaw, and he fell backward out of the wagon. 
They were the brutal murderers of their friends. The 
prisoners cowered low, and the negro Godfrey, who 
lived in the neighborhood of this theatre of his ex 
ploits, and was well known in New Ulm, took good 
care to cover his head with his blanket, and crouch 
close down in his wagon. The expedition soon reach 
ed Mankato, near which a permanent camp for the 
winter was established, called " Camp Lincoln." Here 
the trial of a number of the Winnebagoes was held. 

As no other murders were committed until the fol 
lowing spring, this is an appropriate place to state the 
estimated losses in 1862. 

I take Mr. Gralbraith s figures. 

Citizens massacred: In Renville County, including Reservations, 
221 ; in Dakota Territory, including Big Stone Lake, 32; in Brown 
County, including Lake Shetek, 204 ; in the other frontier counties, 
187 644. Soldiers killed in battle: Lower Sioux Agency, Captain 
Marsh s command, 24 ; Fort Ridgely and New Ulm, 29 ; Birch Coolie, 
23 ; Fort Abercrombie, Acton, Forest City, Hutchinson, and other 
places, including Wood Lake, 1793. Total, 737. 

Mr. Gralbraith says, "Here, then, we have seven 


hundred and thirty-seven persons whom I am certain 
ly convinced have been killed by the Indians. More 
there may be, and I think there are, yet I confine my 
self to the facts I have. Are they not enough ? Many 
of this number were full-grown men, and boys over 
twelve years of age ; the rest women and children 
the mother, the maiden, the little boy or girl, and the 
innocent infant. Are they not enough?" 

During the winter of 1862 and 63 Congress made an 
appropriation, though greatly insufficient in amount, 
for the indemnification of the losses incurred by the 
settlers, and appointed three commissioners to audit 
the claims, who commenced their sessions in the state 
early in the season. 

Justice demands complete reparation. The feder 
al government, through the maladministration of the 
Indian Department, is largely responsible for the ex 
citement of the Indians against the whites. Besides, 
it exercises exclusive jurisdiction over them, and is 
responsible for their good conduct. Alas! what hu 
man power can compensate for the precious lives ex 
tinguished, for the desolated homes, for the blasted 
virtue, for all the anguish, and sorrow, and heart-des 
olation entailed. In the month of September alone, 
8231 persons, who had been living in comparative af 
fluence, were dependent on the support which the state 
furnished. Many charitable donations were received 
from abroad. Among the good men who contributed 
to the support of the sufferers was Mr. Minturn, of New 
York City. The names of the donors will live in the 
memory of a grateful people. 

On the Reservation the property destroyed has been 
estimated by the agent at over one million of dollars. 


The direct and indirect loss to the remainder of the 
state can hardly be estimated. Millions will not cov 
er it. 

If the stories told by the whites of the number of 
Indians killed in different encounters during the sea 
son were correct, their loss would be several hundred. 
But the number was grossly exaggerated. An Indian 
with his head bound with grass, and hugging the prai 
rie, and availing himself, with practiced eye, of every 
inequality in its surface for protection, and shifting 
his position every time he discharges his gun, is a very 
difficult mark for an experienced shot, let alone for 
those who were not accustomed to the use of arms. 

In order to get, if possible, other information upon 
the subject, at Fort Snelling I gathered the Indians 
of different bands together, and asked them to enu 
merate their losses. They did so willingly, and the 
manner in which they did it convinced me of their 
sincerity. They went over the bands one by one, 
and gave the names of the slain, each refreshing the 
recollections of the others. An Indian ascertains and 
remembers such things much better than a white man, 
because there are comparatively few things to occupy 
his mind, and prominent among these is what pertains 
to battles. They do not confine themselves to one 
place, but are continually wandering around and asso 
ciating with one another, and can tell the locality of 
every band. Their knowledge of distances, and of 
what Indians went upon different war paths, and their 
numbers, and what they did, I found to be astonish 
ingly correct. 

The conversation and details of the affair at Acton 
was narrated to me by an Indian, who told me he had 


heard it many times. It was from one of them, too, 
that I obtained the speeches which were made. 

Their estimate of the killed upon the field corre 
sponded with the number found by us at the different 
places of contest. I have heard some say that there 
were more found at New Ulm, Kidgely, and Aber- 
crombie, but I looked in vain for a man who could 
tell me he had seen them. I was at Eidgely myself 
shortly after the battles, and was told that more than 
here stated had been discovered, but I could not find 
them after a diligent search. 

Here are the figures as given by the Indians. 
They include those who were carried away wounded 
from the battle-field, and afterward died. 

Admitted loss of the enemy in 1862: At the battle of Red- Wood 
Ferry, 1 ; at New Ulm (including half-breeds), 5 ; at Fort Ridgely, 
2 ; at Birch Coolie, 2 ; Big Woods, at or near Forest City, 1 ; at 
battle of Acton with Strout, 1; at Hutchinson, 1 ; at Spirit Lake, 1; 
at Lake Shetek, by Duly, 1 ; near Omahaw, where several went to 
steal horses, not knowing of the outbreak, 1 ; at Abercrombie, 4 ; be 
tween Fort Ridgely and New Ulm, half-breed, 1 ; at Wood Lake, 22. 
Total, 42. 






THE Military Commission, which, organized, as 
stated in the order creating it, " to try summarily the 
mulatto, mixed bloods, and Indians engaged in the 
Sioux raids and massacres," consisted at first of Col 
onel Crooks, Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, Captains 
Grant and Bailey, and Lieutenant Olin. The writer 
acted as recorder. 

After twenty -nine cases were disposed of, Major 
Bradley was substituted for Lieutenant Colonel Mar 
shall, who was absent on other duty. 

The prisoners were arraigned upon written charges 
specifying the criminating acts. These charges were 
signed by Colonel Sibley or his adjutant general, 
and were, with but few exceptions, based upon infor 
mation furnished by the Eev. S. E. Riggs. He ob 
tained it by assembling the half-breeds, and others 
possessed of means of knowledge, in a tent, and inter 
rogating them concerning suspected parties. The 
names of the witnesses were appended to the charge. 
He was, in effect, the Grand Jury of the court. His 
long residence in the country, and extensive acquaint 
ance with the Indians, his knowledge of the char 
acter and habits of most of them, enabling him to tell 
almost with certainty what Indians would be impli 
cated and what ones not, either from their disposi 
tion or their relatives being engaged, and his famili 
arity with their language, eminently qualified him for 
the position. 


Major Forbes, of General Sibley s staff, a trader of 
long standing among the Indians, acted as provost 
marshal, and Antoine Frenier as interpreter. The 
charges were first read to the accused, and, unless he 
admitted them, evidence on oath introduced. 

Godfrey was the first person tried. The following 
was the charge and specifications, which will serve as 
a sample of the others : 

" Charge and Specifications against 0-ta-Jcle, or Godfrey, 
a colored man connected with the Sioux tribe of In 

" Charge. MURDER. 

" Specification 1st. In this, that the said O-ta-kle, or 
Godfrey, a colored man, did, at or near New Ulm, 
Minnesota, on or about the 19th day of August, 1862, 
join in a war party of the Sioux tribe of Indians 
against the citizens of the United States, and did with 
his own hand murder seven white men, women, and 
children (more or less), peaceable citizens of the 
United States. 

" Specification 2d. In this, that the said O-ta-kle, or 
Godfrey, a colored man, did, at various times and 
places between the 19th of August, 1862, and the 28th 
day of September, 1862, join and participate in the 
murders and massacre committed by the Sioux In 
dians on the Minnesota frontier. By order of 
" COL. H. H. SIBLEY, Com. Mil. Expedition. 
" S. H. FOWLER,* Lt. Col. State Militia, A. A. A. G. 
" Witnesses: Mary Woodbury, David Faribault, Sen., 
Mary Swan, Bernard la Batte." 

* Colonel Fowler was formerly in the regular army, and rendered 
General Sibley efficient aid in the organization of the expedition. 


On being asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, 
he made a statement similar to the one heretofore de 

Mary Woodbury testified that she saw him two or 
three days after the outbreak at Little Crow s village 
with a breech-clout on, and his legs and face painted 
for a war party, and that he started with one for New 
Ulm; that he appeared very happy and contented 
with the Indians; was whooping around and yelling, 
and apparently as fierce as any of them. When they 
came back there was a Wahpeton, named Hunka, who 
told witness that the negro was the bravest of all ; 
that he led them into a house and dubbed the inmates 
with a hatchet ; and that she was standing in the pris 
oner s tent door, and heard the Indians ask him how 
many he had killed, and he said only seven ; and that 
she saw him, once when he started off, have a gun, a 
knife, and a hatchet. 

Mary Swan and Mattie Williams testified that 
when the war party took them captive, though the pris 
oner was not armed, he appeared to be as much in 
favor of the outrages as any of the Indians, and made 
no intimation to the contrary in a conversation the 
witnesses had with him. 

La Batte knew nothing about him. 

David Faribault, Sen., a half-breed, testified as to 
his boasting of killing seven with a tomahawk, and 
some more children; but these, he said, didn t amount 
to any thing, and he wouldn t count them. Witness 
saw him at the fort and at New Ulm, fighting and 
acting like the Indians ; and he never told him (Fari 
bault) that he was forced into the outbreak. 

Godfrey, it will be recollected, stated, before wit- 


nesses were called, that lie was at the fort, New Ulm, 
Birch Coolie, and Wood Lake, but was compelled to 
go ; and that he had struck a man with the back of a 
hatchet in a house where a number were killed, and 
that he spoke of killing in the Indian acceptation of 
the term, as before explained, and boasted of the act 
in order to keep the good will of the Indians. 

He had such an honest look, and spoke with such 
a truthful tone, that the court, though prejudiced 
against him in the beginning, were now unanimously 
inclined to believe that there were possibilities as to 
his sincerity. His language was broken, and he com 
municated his ideas with some little difficulty. This 
was an advantage in his favor, for it interested the 
sympathetic attention of the listener, and it was a 
pleasure to listen to his hesitating speech. His voice 
was one of the softest that I ever listened to. 

The court held his case open for a long time, and, 
while the other trials were progressing, asked every 
person who was brought in about him, but could find 
no person who saw him kill any one, although the 
Indians were indignant at him for having disclosed 
evidence against a number of them, and would be 
desirous of finding such testimony. 

Finally, the court found him not guilty of the first 
specification, but guilty of the charge arid the second 
specification, and sentenced him to be hung, accom 
panying the sentence, however, by a recommendation 
of a commutation of punishment to imprisonment for 
ten years. It was afterward granted by the President. 

The trials were elaborately conducted until the 
commission became acquainted with the details of the 
different outrages and battles, and then, the only point 


being the connection of the prisoner with them, five 
minutes would dispose of a case. 

If witnesses testified, or the prisoner admitted, that 
he was a participant, sufficient was established. As 
many as forty were sometimes tried in a day. Those 
convicted of plundering were condemned to imprison 
ment; those engaged in individual massacres and in 
battles, to death. 

If you think that participation in battles did not jus 
tify such a sentence, please to reflect that any judicial 
tribunal in the state would have been compelled to 
pass it, and that the retaliatory laws of war, as recog 
nized by all civilized nations, and also the code of the 
Indian, which takes life for life, justified it. The bat 
tles were not ordinary battles. The attacks upon New 
Ulm were directed against a village filled with fright 
ened fugitives from the surrounding neighborhood, 
and the place was defended by civilians, hastily and 
indifferently armed, and were accompanied by the 
wanton burning of a large portion of the town, and 
by the slaughter of horses and cattle, and the destruc 
tion of all property which came within the power of 
the enemy. A number of persons from the country, 
who endeavored, while the attack was progressing, to 
make their way into the town, where alone was possi 
ble safety, were shot down and horribly mutilated. 
The attacks upon the forts were also accompanied by 
similar acts. 

The battle of Birch Coolie commenced with an at 
tack, just before daylight, upon a small party of sol 
diers and civilians who had been engaged in the bur 
ial of the dead at the Bed- Wood Agency, by over 
three hundred Indians, who started for the purpose of 


burning the towns of New Ulm, Mankato, and St. Pe 
ter, and butchering the inhabitants. The war party 
to the Big Woods marched a distance of eighty miles 
on a general raid through the settlements. They 
murdered and mutilated a number of unarmed fugi 
tives, burned many houses, stole a large quantity of 
horses and cattle, killed a portion of Captain Strout s 
company at Acton, and partially destroyed the town 
of Hutchinson. On all these occasions, as they were 
attacked by largely superior numbers, the whites 
would have surrendered could " quarter" have been 
expected. It was with the utmost resistance of de 
spair that the defense of Fort Eigdely and New Ulm 
was sustained after the burning of all the outbuild 
ings, and an attempt to set fire to the fort itself. The 
timely arrival of re-enforcements alone saved the par 
ty at Birch Coolie from total massacre. One hund 
red and four bullet-holes through a single tent, the 
slaughter of over ninety horses, and the loss of half 
the party in killed and wounded, indicate the peril of 
their situation. The purpose of these Indians, as fre 
quently stated, was to sweep the country as far as St. 
Paul with the tomahawk and with fire, giving the 
men " no quarter ;" and these battles were but a part 
of the general design, and rendered the acts of one 
the acts of all. The fact that those engaged in such 
a mode of warfare acted together in organized bands, 
and directed their attempts against a large number of 
whites, was not a matter of mitigation, but of aggrava 
tion, arising from increased ability and opportunity to 
accomplish their purpose. 

Besides, most of these Indians must also have been 
engaged in individual massacres and outrages. Those 


who attacked New Ulm on the second day after the 
outbreak, and Fort Bidgely on the third day, were 
undoubtedly parties who had scattered through the 
neighborhood in small marauding bands the day be 
fore. The extent of the outrages, occurring almost 
simultaneously over a frontier of two hundred miles 
in length and reaching far into the interior, and 
whereby nearly one thousand people perished, can 
not be accounted for without their participation. The 
fact that they were Indians, intensely hating the whites, 
and possessed of the inclinations and revengeful im 
pulses of Indians, and educated to the propriety of 
the indiscriminate butchery of their opponents, would 
raise the moral certainty that, as soon as the first mur 
ders were committed, all the young men were impel 
led by the sight of blood and plunder by the conta 
gion of example, and the hopes entertained of success 
to become participants in the same class of acts. 

In at least two thirds of the cases the prisoners ad 
mitted that they fired, but in most instances insisted 
that it was only two or three shots, and that no one 
was killed ; about as valid an excuse as one of them 
offered who was possessed of an irresistible impulse 
to accumulate property, that a horse which he took 
was only a very little one, and that a pair of oxen 
which he captured was for his wife, who wanted a 
pair. In regard to the third who did not admit that 
they fired, their reasons for not doing so were remark 
able, and assumed a different shape every day. One 
day all the elderly men, who were in the vigor of 
manly strength, said their hair was too gray to go into 
battle ; and the young men, aged from eighteen to 
twenty-five, insisted that they were too young, and 


their hearts too weak to face fire. The next day 
would develop the fact that great was the number 
and terrible the condition of those who were writhing 
in agony with the bellyache on the top of a big hill. 
A small army avowed that they had crept under a 
wonderfully capacious stone (which nobody but them 
selves ever saw) at the battles of the fort, and did not 
emerge therefrom during the fights ; and a sufficiency 
for two small armies stoutly called on the Great Spirit 
(Wakan-tonka), and the heavens and the earth (pat 
ting the latter emphatically with the hand), to witness 
that they were of a temper so phlegmatic, a disposition 
so unsocial, and an appetite so voracious and greedy, 
that, during the roar of each of the battles at the fort, 
New Ulm, Birch Coolie, and Wood Lake, they were 
alone, within bullet-shot, roasting and eating corn and 
beef all day! A fiery -looking warrior wished the 
commission to believe that he felt so bad at the fort 
to see the Indians fire on the whites, that he immedi 
ately laid down there and went to sleep, and did not 
awake until the battle was over ! Several of the worst 
characters, who had been in all the battles, after they 
had confessed the whole thing, wound up by saying 
that they were members of the Church ! 

One young chap, aged about nineteen, said that he 
used always to attend divine worship at Little Crow s 
village, below St. Paul, and that he never did any 
thing bad in his life except to run after a chicken at 
Mendota a long time ago, and that he didn t catch it. 
The evidence disclosed the fact that this pious youth 
had been an active participant in some of the worst 
massacres on Beaver Creek. 

All ages were represented, from boyish fifteen up 


to old men scarcely able to walk or speak, who were 
" fifty years old," to use the expression of one, " a long 
time ago, and then they stopped counting." Two of 
these old gentlemen were once brought in together, 
who were .direct opposites in physiognomy the face 
of one running all to nose, which terminated sharply, 
giving him the pointed expression,* while that of the 
other was perfectly flat, and about two feet broad, and 
fully illustrated (what I always considered a fable) the 
fact of persons being in existence who couldn t open 
or shut their eyes and mouths at the same moment. 
This specimen was apparently asleep the whole time, 
with his lower jaw down ; and closed eyes being his 
normal condition, he had to be punched up every two 
minutes, when the president of the commission was 
interrogating him, as he wished to look in his eyes to 
judge if he was telling the truth. 

" Wake him up ! stir him up /" was the continual in 
junction to the interpreter. This lively little proceed 
ing kept the old gentleman s face in continued action, 
eyes and mouth alternately opening and shutting with 
a jerk. If he was simply told to open his eyes, the 
operation was slow. The lids peeled up like those of 
some stupid noxious bird gorged with carrion, and 
would shut again before they were fairly open, the 
mouth following suit pari passu. Nothing was proved 
against him, and the president said, in a loud voice, 
"Lead him out." The startled tones awakened him, 
but the eyes shut again, and they led him away wrap 
ped in profound slumber. 

Another equally antiquated specimen, but by no 
means terrific in appearance, and not of the smallest 
account to himself or any body else sore-eyed, and 


of lymphatic temperament astonished the court by 
stating that he was the sole cause of the Sioux diffi 
culty ; that he was living near New Ulm upon the 
charity of the whites ; that the whites were, in fact, 
lavishingly kind to him, and to such an extent that 
the other Indians were jealous of him, and became so 
excited thereby that they brought on the war. 

Two semi-idiots were tried. Nothing was elicited 
concerning one of them except that he was called 
" white man," and was picked up when an infant 
alone on the prairies. He claimed to be a white, but 
looked like a " Eed, and a very cross-eyed, ugly-phized 
"Bed" at that. The other had wit enough to kill a 
white child, and, unfortunately for him, the plea of 
idiocy was not recognized by the commission. 

An innocent-looking youth was tried on a charge 
of robbery. The following examination took place : 

Ques. "What goods, if any, did you take from 
Forbes s store ?" 

Ans. " Some blankets." 

Q. "Any thing else?" 

A. " Yes ; some calico and cloth." 

Q. "Any thing else?" 

A. "Yes; some powder, and some lead, and some 
paint, and some beads." 

Q. "Any thing else?" 

A. "Yes; some flour, and some pork, and some 
coffee, and some rice, and some sugar, and some beans, 
and some tin cups, and some raisins, and some twine, 
and some fish-hooks, and some needles, and some 

Q. " Was you going to set up a grocery store on 
your own account ?" 


A. A stupid and inquiring look from the Indian, 
but no words. 

Ten years in prison was given him to meditate on 
his reply. 

Let it not be supposed, because facetiae were some 
times indulged in, that the proceedings were lightly 
conducted. The trial of several hundred persons for 
nearly the same class of acts became very monoto 
nous. The gravest judge, unless entirely destitute of 
the juices of humor, sometimes a while 

" Unbends his rugged front, 
And deigns a transient smile." 

Many cases there were where there was occasion 
enough for display of solemn sorrow. 

The most repulsive-looking prisoner was Cut-nose, 
some of whose acts have been detailed by Samuel 
Brown. He was the foremost man in many of the 
massacres. The first and second days of the outbreak 
he devoted his attention particularly to the Beaver 
Creek settlement, and to the fugitives on that side of 
the river. I will give a single additional instance 
of the atrocity of this wretch and his companions. 
A party of settlers were gathered together for flight 
when the savages approached; the defenseless, helpless 
women and children, huddled together in the wagons, 
bending down their heads, and drawing over them still 
closer their shawls. Cut-nose, while two others held 
the horses, leaped into a wagon that contained eleven, 
mostly children, and deliberately, in cold blood, tom 
ahawked them all cleft open the head of each, while 
the others, stupefied with horror, powerless with fright, 
as they heard the heavy, dull blows crash and tear 
through flesh and bones, awaited their turn. Taking 


an infant from its mother s arms, before her eyes, with 
a bolt from one of the wagons they riveted it through 
its body to the fence, and left it there to die, writhing 
in agony. After holding for a while the mother be 
fore this agonizing spectacle, they chopped off her 
arms and legs, and left her to bleed to death. Thus 
they butchered twenty-five within a quarter of an acre. 
Kicking the bodies out of the wagons, they filled them 
with plunder from the burning houses, and, sending 
them back, pushed on for other adventures.* 

Many of those engaged in the Patville murder were 
tried. Patville started from Jo. Reynolds s place, just 
above Ked-Wood, for New Ulm, on the morning of 
the outbreak, with three young ladies and two other 
men, and on the way they were attacked by the In 
dians, as detailed by Godfrey. Patville was killed 
near the wagon, and the other men at the edge of the 
woods, while trying to escape. One of the girls was 
wounded, and all three taken prisoners and brought 
to Ked-Wood. Here the three were abused by the 
Indians ; one, a girl of fourteen, by seventeen of the 
wretches, and the wounded young lady to such an ex 
tent that she died that night. Jo. Campbell ventured 
to place her in a grave, but was told that if he did so, 
or for any of the other bodies which were lying ex 
posed, his life should pay the forfeit. The two other 
young ladies were reclaimed at Camp Eelease, and 
sent to their friends, after suffering indignities worse 
than death, and which humanity shudders to name. 

Others were tried who belonged to a band of eight 
that separated themselves from the main body which 
attacked the fort in the second battle, and went to- 

* Harper s Magazine. 


ward St. Peter s, burning the church, the Swan Lake 
House, and other buildings, and murdering and plun 
dering. They attacked one party, and killed all the 
men, and then one of them caught hold of a young 
girl to take her as his property, when the mother re 
sisted and endeavored to pull her away. The Indians 
then shot the mother dead, and wounded the girl, who 
fell upon the ground apparently lifeless. An Indian 
said she was not dead, and told her first captor to 
raise her clothes, which he attempted to do. Modes 
ty, strong in death, revived the girl, and she attempt 
ed to prevent it, but as she did so the other raised his 
tomahawk and dashed out her brains a blessed fate 
in comparison with that which was otherwise de 

An old man, shriveled to a mummy, one of the 
criers of the Indian camp, was also tried, and two 
little boys testified against him. 

One of them, a German, and remarkably intelligent 
for his years, picked him out from many others at 
Camp Kelease, and had him arrested, and dogged him 
till he was placed in jail, and when he was led forth 
to be tried, with the eye and fierceness of a hawk, and 
as if he feared every instant that he would escape 

These boys belonged to a large party, who came 
from above Beaver Creek to within a few miles of the 
fort, where the Indians met them, and said if they 
would go back with them to where they came from, 
and give up their teams, they should not be harmed. 
When they were some distance from the fort, they 
fired into the party, and killed one man and a num 
ber of women, and took the remainder prisoners. The 


old wretch was made to stand up, looking cold and 
impassable, and as stolid as a stone, and the boys, 
likewise standing, placed opposite. They stood gaz 
ing at each other for a moment, when one of the boys 
said, " I saw that Indian shoot a man while he was on 
his knees at prayer;" and the other boy said, "I saw 
him shoot my mother." 

Another was recognized by Mrs. Hunter as the In 
dian who had shot her husband, and then took out 
his knife and offered to cut his throat in her presence, 
but finally desisted, and carried her away into cap 

A party of five was also tried, who all fired and 
killed a white man across the river. The party con 
sisted of three half-breeds, Henry Milard, Baptiste 
Campbell, and Hippolyte Auge, and two Indians. 

One of the Indians was first examined, and, as he 
was going out of the door, said hastily that there was 
a white man with him, and gave the name of Milard. 
He was at once arrested, and brought before the court 
the next day, and the Indian called as a witness. On 
being interrogated as to whether he knew the prisoner, 
he turned around, and, after leisurely scanning him 
from head to foot, said he never saw him before. 
Milard had previously made some rather damaging 
admissions, and being asked whether he desired any 
witnesses, mentioned the name of Campbell, who be 
ing brought in, stolidly told the whole thing, saying 
that they were sent over the river by Little Crow 
after cattle, and saw the white man, and all fired at 
the same time, and the man fell, and that he was sure 
the Indian shot him, as he had gotten where he could 
get a better shot. He said, with the utmost sangfroid, 


that he aimed to hit, but unfortunately failed. Auge 
had gone to St. Peter s, but was arrested and con 

Several of the Renville Rangers were also arraign 
ed, who deserted from the fort, and were in all the 
battles. One of these, about eighteen, built like a 
young Hercules, stated that he went from the fort to 
cut kin-ne-kin-nic, and the Indians, surrounding the 
fort while he was out, prevented his getting in, and 
that his presence in the battles was compulsory, and 
stoutly denied having been guilty of any wrong act. 
The evidence showed that he was of a decidedly bel 
ligerent character, having been engaged in war par 
ties against the Chippeways, and that at Wood Lake 
he had scalped the first man killed, one of the Ren 
ville Rangers, an old gray -headed German (and very 
likely was the one who had cut his head and hands 
off), and had received therefor one of two belts of 
wampum which Little Crow had promised to those 
who should kill the first two white men. He called 
his Indian uncle in his defense, but he, much to his 
disgust, admitted that he had received the wampum. 

The female sex was represented in the person of 
one squaw, who, it was charged, had killed two chil 
dren. The only evidence to be obtained against her 
was camp rumor to that effect among the Indians, so 
she was discharged. Her arrest had one good effect, 
as she admitted she had taken some silver spoons 
across the river, and ninety dollars in gold, which she 
had turned over to an Indian, who, being questioned 
concerning it, admitted the fact, and delivered the 
money over to the general. 

But the greatest institution of the commission, and 


the observed of all observers, was the negro Godfrej^. 
He was the means of bringing to justice a large num 
ber of the savages, in every instance but two his testi 
mony being substantiated by the subsequent admis 
sion of the Indians themselves. His observation and 
memory were remarkable. Not the least thing had 
escaped his eye or ear. Such an Indian had a double- 
barreled gun, another a single-barreled, another a long 
one, another a short one, another a lance, and another 
one nothing at all. One denied that he was at the 
fort. Godfrey saw him there preparing his sons for 
battle, and recollected that he painted the face of one 
red, and drew a streak of green over his eyes. An 
other denied that he had made a certain statement to 
Godfrey which he testified to. "What!" said God 
frey, " don t you recollect you said it when you had 
your hand upon my wagon and your foot resting on 
the wheel." To a boy whom he charged with admit 
ting that he had killed a child by striking it with his 
war spear over the head, and who denied it, he said, 
"Don t you remember showing me the spear was 
broken, and saying that you had broken it in striking 
the child ?" To another, who said he had a lame arm 
at New Ulm, and couldn t fire a gun, and had such a 
bad gun that he could not have fired if he desired, he 
replied, "You say you could not fire, and had a bad 
gun. Why don t you tell the court the truth? I 
saw you go and take the gun of an Indian who was 
killed, and fire two shots; and then you borrowed 
mine, and shot with it ; and then you made me reload 
it, and then you fired again." 

I might enumerate numberless instances of this 
kind, in which his assumed recollection would cause 


his truthfulness to be doubted, if he had not been 
fully substantiated. It was a study to watch him, as 
he sat in court, scanning the face of every culprit who 
came in with the eye of a cat about to spring. His 
sense of the ridiculous, and evident appreciation of 
the gravity which should accompany the statement 
of an important truth, was strongly demonstrated. 
When a prisoner would state, in answer to the ques 
tion of " Guilty or not guilty," that he- was innocent, 
and Godfrey knew that he was guilty, he would drop 
his head upon his breast, and convulse with a fit of 
musical laughter; and when the court said, "Godfrey, 
talk to him," he would straighten up, his countenance 
become calm, and, in a deliberate tone, would soon 
force the Indian, by a series of questions in his own 
language, into an admission of the truth. He seemed 
a "providence" specially designed as an instrument 
of justice. 

The number of prisoners tried was over four hund 
red. Of these, three hundred and three were sen 
tenced to death, eighteen to imprisonment. Most of 
those acquitted were Upper Indians. There was tes 
timony that all these left their homes and went upon 
war parties, but the particular acts could not be shown, 
and they were therefore not convicted. Some people 
have thought that the haste with which the accused 
were tried must have prevented any accuracy as to 
the ascertainment of their complicity. I have already 
shown that the point to be investigated being a very 
simple one, viz., presence and participation in battles 
and massacres which had before been proven, and 
many of the prisoners confessing the fact, each case 
need only occupy a few moments. It was completed 


when you -asked him if he was in the battles of New 
Ulm and the fort, or either, and fired at the whites, 
and he said "yes." The officers composing the court 
were well known to the community as respectable and 
humane gentlemen. They resided a long distance 
from the scene of the massacres, and had no property 
destroyed or relatives slain. They were all men of 
more than average intelligence, and one of them (Ma 
jor Bradley) was not only a gallant soldier, but had 
long been rated among the first lawyers of the state. 
Before entering upon the trials they were solemnly 
sworn to a fair and impartial discharge of their duties. 
It would scarcely be supposed that such men as these, 
after such an oath, would take away human life with 
out the accused were guilty. 

The fact that in many instances the punishment of 
imprisonment was graduated from one to ten years, 
and that in nearly one quarter of the cases the ac 
cused were acquitted, argues any thing but inattention 
to testimony and blind condemnation. 

Mr. Riggs, their missionary, who furnished the 
grounds for the charges, had free intercourse with 
them, and as he was well known to all of them per 
sonally or by reputation for his friendship and sym 
pathy, those who were innocent would be likely, of 
their own accord, to tell him of the fact, and those 
who were members of his church, or those whose char 
acters were good, specially interrogated by him as to 
their guilt ; and a gentleman of such kind impulses, 
and who took such a deep interest in their welfare, 
would not have hesitated to have had the defensive 
or excusatory fact brought to the attention of the 
court, and he did not. One instance was that of Rob- 


ert Hopkins, a civilized Indian, and a member of the 
Church. He helped to save the life of Dr. Williamson 
and party, and when he was tried Mr. Eiggs had this 
adduced in his favor. 

Where so many were engaged in the raids, the fact 
of any one staying at home would be a circumstance 
much more marked than that of going a circum 
stance quickly noticed, and calculated to impress the 
memory, and therefore easily proven. 

It is the height of improbability to believe that any 
Indian would be accused, especially by Mr. Biggs, and 
the subject of his guilt or innocence canvassed among 
the half-breed witnesses who had been present through 
the whole affair, and be conducted by Provost Marshal 
Forbes, who understood the Indian language, and was 
well acquainted with them, a distance of a quarter of 
a mile from the prison to the court, without the fact 
of innocence, if it existed, being noticed and called to 
the attention of the court, and in no instance was there 
suggestion made of any defensive testimony but what 
the court had it produced, and gave to it due weight 
and consideration. 

No one was sentenced to death for the mere rob 
bery of goods, and not to exceed half a dozen for mere 
presence in a battle, although the prisoner had gone 
many miles to it, or on a general raid against the set 
tlements. It was required that it should be proven 
by the testimony of witnesses, unless the prisoner ad 
mitted the fact, that he had fired in the battles, or 
brought ammunition, or acted as commissary in sup 
plying provisions to the combatants, or committed 
some separate murder. 

Where defensive testimony was offered, the defend- 


ant s case generally appeared worse against him. The 
reader will recollect the instances where the half-breed 
Milard sent for Baptiste Campbell, and the deserter 
from the Kenville Kangers for his Indian uncles. 
Kobert Hopkins s case, too, was unfortunate. He had 
helped Dr. Williamson to escape, but he fired in bat 
tles ; and David Faribault swore that while he was 
between New Ulm and Bed -Wood he heard a gun 
fired near a house a short distance off, and shortly aft 
erward Hopkins and another Indian approached, and 
one of them (I think Hopkins) said that he (Hopkins) 
had first shot a white man at that house, and that 
there was another white man ran up stairs, and that 
Hopkins wanted the other Indian to follow, but he 
dared not ; that Hopkins then proposed that they 
should set fire to the house, but the Indian refused to 
do so, as he said the white man might have a gun, 
and shoot one of them from the window. 

Some have criticised the action of the court because 
of the great number of the condemned. Great also 
was the number of crimes of which they were ac 

Many of the presses in the East condemned the de 
mands of the people of Minnesota for their execution 
as barbarous in the extreme. For their benefit let me 
cite a few instances from the history of their own an 
cestors under similar circumstances. See how the in 
vestigation and trial above detailed, and the refrain 
ing of the people to visit death summarily upon the 
criminals, or upon any one of them, compares with 
their conduct, and then judge. 

In 1675 the New England army broke into King 
Philip s camp in the southern part of Ehode Island, 


and fired five hundred wigwams; arid hundreds ol 
the women and children, the aged, the wounded, and 
the infirm, perished in the conflagration. 

On the 5th of June, 1637, the soldiers of Connecti 
cut forced their way into the Pequod fort, in the east 
ern part of the state, and commenced the work of de 
struction. The Indians fought bravely, but bows and 
arrows availed little against weapons of steel. " We 
must burn them," shouted Mason, their leader ; and, 
applying a firebrand, the frail Indian cabins were soon 
enveloped in the flames. 

The whites hastily withdrew and surrounded the 
place, while the savages, driven from the inclosure, 
became, by the light of the burning fire, a sure prey 
for the musket, or were cut down by the broadsword. 
As the sun shone upon the scene of slaughter it show 
ed that the victory was complete. 

About 600 Indians, men, women, and children, had 
perished, most of them in the hideous conflagration. 
Of the whole number within the fort, only seven es 
caped, and seven were made prisoners. Two of the 
whites were killed and twenty wounded. The re 
mainder of the Pequods scattered in every direction ; 
straggling parties were hunted and shot down like 
deer in the woods ; their territory was laid waste, their 
settlements burned, and about 200 survivors, the sole 
remnant of the great nation, surrendering in despair, 
were enslaved by the whites, or forced to live with 
their allies.* 




THE records of the testimony and sentences of the 
Indians was sent to the President at an early day, but 
no action was taken for several weeks. Finally, thir 
ty-eight were ordered to be executed at Mankato on 
the 26th day of February, 1863. On Monday, the 22d, 
the condemned were separated from the other prison 
ers to another prison. On the afternoon of the same 
day, Colonel Miller, the officer in command at Manka 
to, visited them, and announced the decision of the 

Addressing the interpreter, the Rev. Mr. Riggs, he 

"Tell these condemned men that the commanding 
officer of this place has called to speak to them upon 
a very serious subject this afternoon. 

" Their Great Father at Washington, after carefully 
reading what the witnesses testified to in their several 
trials, has come to the conclusion that they have each 
been guilty of wantonly and wickedly murdering his 
white children. And for this reason he has directed 
that they each be hanged by the neck until they are 
dead, on next Friday; and that order will be carried 
into effect on that day, at ten o clock in the forenoon ; 

" That good ministers are here both Catholic and 
Protestant from among whom each one can select a 
spiritual adviser, who will be permitted to commune 

ill iliiiil^i 



with them constantly during the four days that they 
are yet to live ; 

" That I will now cause to be read the letter of their 
Great Father at Washington, first in English, and then 
in their own language. (The President s order was 
here read.) 

" Say to them now that they have so sinned against 
their fellow-men that there is no hope for clemency 
except in the mercy of Grod, through the merits of the 
blessed Redeemer ; and that I earnestly exhort them 
to apply to that, as their only remaining source of 
comfort and consolation." 

The St. Paul Press, to which I am indebted for the 
details of the execution, says : 

"Very naturally it would be expected that this 
scene would be peculiarly solemn and distressing to 
the doomed savages. To all appearances, however, it 
was not so. The prisoners received their sentence 
very coolly. At the close of the first paragraph they 
gave the usual grunt of approval ; but as the second 
was being interpreted to them, they evidently discov 
ered the drift of the matter, and their approval was 
less general, and with but little unction. 

"Several Indians smoked their pipes composedly 
during the reading, and we observed one in particu 
lar who, when the time of execution was designated, 
quietly knocked the ashes from his pipe and filled it 
afresh with his favorite kin-ne-kin-nick ; while anoth 
er was slowly rubbing a pipeful of the same article in 
his hand, preparatory to a good smoke. 

" The Indians were evidently prepared for the visit 
and the announcement of their sentence, one or two 
having overheard soldiers talking about it when they 
were removed to a separate apartment. 


"At the conclusion of the ceremony, Colonel Miller 
instructed Major Brown to tell the Indians that each 
should be privileged to designate the minister of his 
choice ; that a record of the same would be made, and 
the minister so selected would have free intercourse 
with him. 

" The colonel and spectators then withdrew, leav 
ing the ministers in consultation with the prisoners." 

The following order was issued as per date : 

"Head-quarters Indian Post Mankato, December 22, 1862. 

" General Order No. 17. 

" Colonel Benjamin F. Smith, of Mankato, Major 
W. H. Dike, of Faribault, Hon. Henry A. Swift and 
Henry W. Lamberton, Esq., of St. Peter s, Edwin 
Bradley and Major E. W. Dike, of Mankato, and Keu- 
ben Butters, of Kasota, together with such other good 
citizens as they may select, are hereby requested to 
act at this place on Friday, the 26th inst., as mount 
ed citizen marshals, Colonel Benjamin F. Smith as 
chief, and the others, as assistants. 

"The colonel commanding respectfully recommends 
that they assemble at Mankato on the previous even 
ing, and adopt such wholesome measures as may con 
tribute to the preservation of good order and strict 
propriety during the said 26th instant. 

"By order of the colonel commanding. 

" J. K. ARNOLD, Post Adjutant." 

On Monday a general order was promulgated by 
the commander of the post, forbidding all persons in 
Mankato, and in the adjoining district, extending a 
distance of ten miles, from selling intoxicating liquors. 


Martial law was declared by the promulgation of 
the following order : 

" Head-quarters of Indian Post Mankato, December 24, 1862. 
" General Order No. 21. 

" The colonel commanding publishes the following 
rules to govern all who may be concerned ; and for 
the preservation of the public peace, declares martial 
law over all the territory within a circle of ten miles 
from these head-quarters. 

" 1. It is apprehended by both the civil and mili 
tary authorities, as well as by many of the prominent 
business men, that the use of intoxicating liquors, 
about the time of the approaching Indian execution, 
may result in a serious riot or breach of the peace ; 
and the unrestrained distribution of such beverages to 
enlisted men is always subversive of good order and 
military discipline. 

" 2. The good of the service, the honor of the state, 
and the protection of all concerned, imperatively re 
quire that, for a specified period, the sale, gift, or use 
of all intoxicating drinks, including wines, beer, and 
malt liquors, be entirely suspended. 

"3. From this necessity, and for the said purposes, 
martial law is hereby declared in and about all terri 
tory, buildings, tents, booths, camps, quarters, and oth 
er places within the aforesaid limits, to take effect at 
three o clock on Thursday morning, the 25th inst. 

"4. Accordingly, the sale, tender, gift, or use of all 
intoxicating liquors as above named, by soldiers, so- 
journers, or citizens, is entirely prohibited until the 
evening of the 27th instant, at eleven o clock. 

" 5. The said prohibition to continue as to the sale 


or gift of all intoxicating liquors as before described 
to enlisted men in the service of the United States, 
except upon special written orders or permission from 
these head - quarters, until officially revoked by the 
commandant of this post. 

" 6. For the purpose of giving full scope and effect 
to this order, a special patrol will visit all suspected 
camps, tents, booths, rooms, wagons, and other places, 
and seize and destroy all liquors so tendered, given, 
sold, or used, and break the vessels containing the 
same, and report the circumstances, with the name of 
the offender, to these head-quarters. 

" 7. This order will be read at the head of every 
company of the United States forces serving or com 
ing within said limits. 

" [Official.] STEPHEN MILLER, 

" Col. 7th Kegt. Min. Vol., Comd g Post. 
" J. K. ARNOLD, Adj t 7th Eegt. Min. Yols., Post Adj." 

All the prisoners, shortly before their execution, 
made statements to the Eev. Mr. Eiggs as to their 
participation in the massacre. In the first eleven 
cases on his list I retained copies of the records ofthe 
trial, and in these I will give the statements made to 
Mr. Eiggs, and what appeared against them before the 

1. Te-he-hdo-ne-cha (one who forbids his house) 
confessed, on trial, to having gone east of Beaver Eiv- 
er with a party who committed murders, and that he 
took a woman prisoner, with whom he slept; and 
that he was in five battles, but denied firing a gun or 
killing any one. A woman swore he ravished her 
against her will, and was delighted with the acts of 


the war party. (Statement made to Mr. Riggs.) He 
said he was asleep when the outbreak took place at 
the Lower Agency. He was not present at the break 
ing open of the stores, but afterward went over the 
Minnesota Eiver and took some women captives. 
The men who were killed there were killed by other 

2. Ta-zoo, alias Ptan-doo-tah (Red Otter). Prisoner 
was professional juggler and medicine-man, and was 
convicted of rape upon the testimony of the violated 
woman herself, and of participation in the murder of 
Patville. He tied her hands. The lady testified that 
he acted as if delighted with the acts of the others of 
the war party, and helped to plunder. Her testimony 
was fully corroborated by others, and her own repu 
tation was stainless. Godfrey refers to this Indian in 
his account of the Patville murder. (Statement.) Pris 
oner said he had very sore eyes at the commence 
ment of the outbreak, and was at that time down op 
posite Fort Ridgely. He was with the party that 
killed Patville and others. Maza-bom-doo killed Pat 
ville. He himself took Miss Williams captive. Said 
he would have violated the women, but they resisted. 
He thought he did a good deed in saving the women 

3. "Wy-a-tah-ta-wa (his people) confessed to having 
participated in the murder of Patville, and to have 
been in three battles. (Statement. ) He said he was 
at the attack on Captain Marsh s company, and also 
at New Ulm. He and another Indian shot a man at 
the same time. He does not know whether he or the 
other Indian killed the white man. He was wounded 
in following up another white man. He was at the 


battle of Birch Coolie, where he fired his gun four 
times. He fired twice at Wood Lake. 

4. Hin-han-shoon-ko-yag-ma-ne(one who walks 
clothed in an owl s tail). Convicted on the testimony 
of an eye-witness, Mrs. Alexander Hunter, of the mur 
der of her husband, and with taking herself prisoner. 
Her testimony was corroborated. (Statement) He 
said he was charged with killing white people, and so 
condemned. He did not know certainly that he killed 
any one. He was in all the battles. 

5. Ma-za-bom-doo (iron-blower). Convicted of the 
murder of an old woman and two children at the 
Travelers Home, near New Ulm, on the testimony of 
Godfrey. At the time he was with the party who 
killed Patville. (Statement.) He stated he was down 
on the Big Cottonwood when the outbreak took place ; 
that he came to New Ulm and purchased various ar 
ticles, and then started home. He met the Indians 
coming down. Saw some men in wagons shot, but 
did not know who killed them. He was present at 
the killing of Patville and others, but denied having 
done it himself. He thought he did well by Mat- 
tie Williams and Mary Swan in keeping them from 
being killed. They lived and he had to die, which 
he thought not quite fair. 

6. Wah-pa-doo-ta (Eed Leaf). This was Godfrey s 
father-in-law. Confessed that he was engaged in the 
massacres, and that he shot a white man. (Statement) 
He said he was an old man. He was moving when 
he heard of the outbreak. He saw some men after 
they were killed about the agency, but did not kill 
any one there. He started down to the fort, and went 
on to the New Ulm settlement. There he shot at a 


man through the window, but does not think he killed 
him. He was himself wounded at New Ulm. 

7. Wa-he-hna (meaning not known). Prisoner con 
fessed that he had been in three battles and fired at 
white pepple, " but never took good aim ;" that he 
belonged to the Soldier s Lodge. David Faribault tes 
tified that he heard him say that he had shot a mes 
senger (Richardson) going to the fort. (Statement.) 
He said that life did not kill any one. If he had be 
lieved he had killed a white man he would have fled 
with Little Grow. The witnesses lied on him. 

8. Sna-ma-ne (Tinkling Walker). Convicted of the 
murder of two persons on the testimony of a boy, an 
eye-witness. (Statement) He said he was condemned 
on the testimony of two German boys. They say he 
killed two persons. The boys told lies ; he was not at 
the place at all. 

9. Kda-in-yan-ka (Rattling Runner). David Fari-^ 
bault swore that prisoner was very active among those 
who shot at Marsh s men, and that he saw him firing 
in the battles of the fort, New Ulm, and Wood Lake ; 
that he took a prominent part ; was the exhorter, and 
did all he could to push the others ahead ; that, before 
going to Wood Lake, he ran through the camp, urg 
ing the Indians to kill every body and take their 
goods ; and that he made a speech, in which he offer 
ed two bunches of wampum, which he displayed, for 
the first scalp, and two bunches of crow s feathers 
(very precious) for the scalp of Sibley or of Forbes. 
Paul and Lorenzo testified that he opposed giving 
up the white captives. (He was a son-in-law of Wa- 
bashaw.) (Statement.) He said he did not know of 
the uprising on Monday, the 18th of August, until 


they had killed a number of men. He then went out 
and met Little Crow, and tried to stop the murders, 
but could not. The next day his son was brought 
home wounded from Fort Eidgely. He forbade the 
delivery up of the white captives to Paul when he de 
manded them, and he supposed that he was to be hung 
for that. 

10. Do-wan-sa (the Singer) confessed to having been 
in the battles of New Ulm, the fort, Birch Coolie, and 
Wood Lake, and on the war party of eight that went 
to the Swan Lake House, in Nicollet, and committed 
murders on the road. This was the party which com 
mitted one of the outrages detailed in the chapter 
upon the trials. Godfrey, who first stated the facts 
which led to the arrest, testified that prisoner told him 
that there were three women and two men in a wag 
on, and these were all killed ; that he (prisoner) want 
ed to take one good-looking young woman home, and 
her mother interfered, and he told the others to shoot 
the mother, which they did, and, in doing so, wound 
ed the daughter, who fell as if dead. That he went 
away, and one of the Indians said she wasn t dead ; 
and on his running to her and pulling up her clothes, 
she jumped up, and another Indian split her head 
open with his tomahawk. The prisoner confessed 
that what Godfrey stated was true, only he didn t kill 
any body. (Statement.) He said he was one of six 
who were down in the Swan Lake neighborhood. He 
knew that they killed two men and two women, but 
this was done by the rest of the party, and not by 

11. Hapan (second child if a son). He confessed 
he was with the war party that killed Patville, and 


that he took hold of one of the women by the arm 
" to save her life" (Statement.) He said he was not in 
the massacre of New Ulrn nor the agency. He was 
with the company who killed Patville and his com 
panions. . He took one of the worsen. 0-ya-tay-ta-wa 
killed Patville. 

Among the others were White Dog, who was said 
to have given the order to fire on Marsh s men at the 
Bed-Wood ferry (he insisted on his innocence to the 
last), Cut-nose, Chaska, one of the two who shot George 
Gleason, and the half-breeds Baptiste Campbell, Hen 
ry Milard, and Hippolyte Auge, who was engaged in 
the murder of the white man opposite Crow s village, 
and Na-pe-shue, convicted of participating in the mas 
sacres, and who boasted of having killed nineteen per 
sons. Those who were simply engaged in battles, 
with the exception of White Dog, were not included 
in the order. Mr. Biggs, in closing up his written 
account, of their statements, says : "And now, guilty 
or not guilty, may God have mercy upon these poor 
human creatures, and, if it be possible, save them in 
the other world through Jesus Christ his Son. Amen. 

"In making these statements, confessions, and de 
nials, they were generally calm ; but a few individuals 
were quite excited. They were immediately checked 
by others, and told they were all dead men, and there 
was no reason why they should not tell the truth. 
Many of them have indited letters to their friends in 
which they say that they are very dear to them, but 
will see them no more. They exhort them not to cry 
or change their dress for them. Some of them say 
they expect to go and dwell with the Good Spirit, and 
express the hope that their friends will all join them. 


"On Tuesday evening they extemporized a dance 
with a wild Indian song. It was feared that this was 
only a cover for something else which might be at 
tempted, and their chains were thereafter fastened to 
the floor. It seems, however, rather probable that 
they were only singing their death-song. Their friends 
from the other prison have been in to bid them fare 
well, and they are now ready to die." 

Before the execution, Wabashaw s son-in-law (No. 9) 
dictated the following letter to that chief: 

" WABASHAW, You have deceived me- You told me that if we 
followed the advice of General Sibley, and gave ourselves up to the 
whites, all would be well ; no innocent man would be injured. I have 
not killed, wounded, or injured a white man, or any white persons. I 
have not participated in the plunder of their property ; and yet to-day 
I am set apart for execution, and must die in a few days, while men 
who are guilty will remain in prison. My wife is your daughter, my 
children are your grandchildren. I leave them all in your care and 
under your protection. Do not let them suffer ; and when my chil 
dren are grown up, let them know that their father died because he 
followed the advice of his chief, and without having the blood of a 
white man to answer for to the Great Spirit. 

"My wife and children are dear to me. Let them not grieve for 
me. Let them remember that the brave should be prepared to meet 
death ; and I will do as becomes a Dakota. 

"Your son-in-law, EDA-IN-YAN-KA." 

" On "Wednesday, each Indian set apart for execu 
tion was permitted to send for two or three of his rela 
tives or friends confined in the same prison for the pur 
pose of bidding them a final adieu, and to carry such 
messages to absent relatives as each person might be 
disposed to send. Major Brown was present during 
the interviews, and describes them as very sad and af 
fecting. Each Indian had some word to send to his 
parents or family. "When speaking of their wives and 
children almost every one was affected to tears. 


"Good counsel was sent to the children. They 
were in many cases exhorted to an adoption of Chris 
tianity and the life of good feeling toward the whites. 
Most of them spoke confidently of their hopes of salva 
tion. They had been constantly attended by Eev. Dr. 
Williamson, Kev. Van Eavoux, and Kev. S. E. Eiggs, 
whose efforts in bringing these poor criminals to a 
knowledge of the merits of the blessed Eedeemer had 
been eminently successful. These gentlemen were all 
conversant with the Dakota language, and could con 
verse and plead with the Indians in their own tongue. 

" There is a ruling passion with many Indians, and 
Tazoo could not refrain from its enjoyment even in 
this sad hour. Ta-ti-mi-ma was sending word to his 
relatives not to mourn for his loss. He said he was 
old, and could not hope to live long under any cir 
cumstances, and his execution would not shorten his 
days a great deal, and dying as he did, innocent of any 
white man s blood, he hoped would give him a better 
chance to be saved; therefore he hoped his friends 
would consider his death but as a removal from this 
to a better world. I have every hope, said he, of 
going direct to the abode of the Great Spirit, where I 
shall always be happy. This last remark reached the 
ears of Tazoo, who was also speaking to his friends, 
and he elaborated upon it in this wise : Yes, tell our 
friends that we are being removed from this world 
over the same path they must shortly travel. We go 
first, but many of our friends may follow us in a very 
short time. I expect to go direct to the abode of the 
Great Spirit, and to be happy when I get there ; but 
we are told that the road is long and the distance great; 
therefore, as I am slow in all my movements, it will 





probably take me a long time to reach the end of the 
journey, and I should not be surprised if some of the 
young, active men we will leave behind us will pass 
me on the road before I reach the place of my desti 

"In shaking hands with Ked Iron and Akipa, Tazoo 
said : Friends, last summer you were opposed to us. 
You were living in continual apprehension of an at 
tack from those who were determined to exterminate 
the whites. Yourselves and families were subjected 
to many taunts, insults, and threats. Still you stood 
firm in our friendship for the whites, and continually 
counseled the Indians to abandon their raid against 
the whites. Your course was condemned at the time, 
but now you see your wisdom. You were right when 
you said the whites could not be exterminated, and 
the attempt indicated folly; you and your families 
were prisoners, and the lives of all in danger. To-day 
you are here at liberty, assisting in feeding and guard 
ing us, and thirty-nine men will die in two days be 
cause they did not follow your example and advice. 

" Several of the prisoners were completely over 
come during the leave-taking, and were compelled to 
abandon conversation. Others again (and Tazoo was 
one) affected to disregard the dangers of their position, 
and laughed and joked apparently as unconcerned as 
if they were sitting around a camp-fire in perfect free 

" On Thursday, the women who were employed as 
cooks for the prisoners, all of whom had relations 
among the condemned, were admitted to the prison. 
This interview was less sad, but still interesting. 
Locks of hair, blankets, coats, and almost every other 


article in possession of the prisoners, were given in 
trust for some relative or friend who had been forgot 
ten or overlooked during the interview of the previous 
day. The idea of allowing women to witness their 
weakness is repugnant to an Indian, and will account 
for this. The messages were principally advice to 
their friends to bear themselves with fortitude and re 
frain from great mourning. The confidence of many 
in their salvation was again reiterated. 

"Late on Thursday night, in company with Lieuten 
ant Colonel Marshall, the reporter visited the building 
occupied by the doomed Indians. They were quar 
tered on the ground floor of the three-story stone 
building erected by the late General Leech. 

" They were all fastened to the floor by chains, two 
by two. Some were sitting up, smoking and convers 
ing, while others were reclining, covered with blank 
ets and apparently asleep. The three half-breeds and 
one or two others, only, were dressed in citizens 
clothes. The rest all wore the breech-clout, leggins, 
and blankets, and not a few were adorned with paint. 
The majority of them were young men, though sever 
al were quite old and gray-headed, ranging perhaps 
toward seventy. One was quite a youth, not over 
sixteen. They all appeared cheerful and contented, 
and scarcely to reflect on the certain doom which 
awaited them. To the gazers, the recollection of how 
short a time since they had been engaged in the dia 
bolical work of murdering indiscriminately both old 
and young, sparing neither sex nor condition, sent a 
thrill of horror through the veins. Now they were 
perfectly harmless, and looked as innocent as chil 
dren. They smiled at your entrance, and held out 


their hands to be shaken, which yet appeared to be 
gory with the blood of babes. Oh. treachery, thy 
name is Dakota. 

" Father Kavoux spent the whole night among the 
doomed ones, talking with them concerning their fate, 
and endeavoring to impress upon them a serious view 
of the subject. He met with some success, and dur 
ing the night several were baptized, and received the 
communion of the Church. 

"At daylight the reporter was there again. That 
good man, Father Eavoux, was still with them ; also 
Rev. Dr. Williamson : and whenever either of these 
worthy men addressed them, they were listened to 
with marked attention. The doomed ones wished it 
to be known among their friends, and particularly 
their wives and children, how cheerful and happy 
they all had died, exhibiting no fear of this dread 
event. To the skeptical it appeared not as an evi* 
dence of Christian faith, but a steadfast adherence to 
their heathen superstitions. 

" They shook hands with the officers who came in 
among them, bidding them good-by as if they were 
going on a long and pleasant journey. They had add 
ed some fresh streaks of vermilion and ultramarine 
to their countenances, as their fancy suggested, evi 
dently intending to fix themselves off as gay as pos 
sible for the coming exhibition. They commenced 
singing their death-song, Tazoo leading, and nearly 
all joining. It was wonderfully exciting. 

"At half past seven all persons were excluded from 
the room except those necessary to help prepare the 
prisoners for their doom. Under the superintendence 
of Major Brown and Captain Eedfield, their irons 


were knocked off, and one by one were tied by cords, 
their elbows being pinioned behind and the wrists in 
front, but about six inches apart. This operation oc 
cupied till about nine o clock. In the mean time the 
scene was much enlivened by their songs and con 
versation, keeping up the most cheerful appearance. 
As they were being pinioned, they went round the 
room shaking hands with the soldiers and reporters, 
bidding them good-by, etc. White Dog requested 
not to be tied, and said that he could keep his hands 
down ; but of course his request could not be com 
plied with. He said that Little Crow, Young Six, and 
Big Eagle s brother got them into this war, and now 
he and others are to die for it. After all were prop 
erly fastened, they stood up in a row around the 
room, and another exciting death-song was sung. 
They then sat down very quietly, and commenced 
smoking again. Father Eavoux came in, and after 
addressing them a few moments, knelt in prayer, read 
ing from a Prayer-book in the Dakota language, which 
a portion of the condemned repeated after him. Dur 
ing this ceremony nearly all paid the most strict at 
tention, and several were affected even to tears. He 
then addressed them again, first in Dakota, then in 
French, which was interpreted by Baptiste Campbell, 
one of the condemned half-breeds. The caps were 
then put on their heads. These were made of white 
muslin taken from the Indians when their camps 
were captured, and which had formed part of the spoils 
they had taken from the murdered traders. They 
were made long, and looked like a meal-sack, but, be 
ing rolled up, only came down to the forehead, and 
allowed their painted faces yet to be seen. 



" They received these evidences of their near ap 
proach to death with evident dislike. When it had 
been adjusted on one or two, they looked around on 
the others who had not yet received it with an ap 
pearance of shame. Chains and cords had not moved 
them their wear was not considered dishonorable 
but this covering of the head with a white cap was 
humiliating. There was no more singing, and but 
little conversation and smoking now. All sat around 
the room, most of them in a crouched position, await 
ing their doom in silence, or listening to the remarks 
of Father Ravoux, who still addressed them. Once 
in a while they brought their small looking-glasses 
before their faces to see that their countenances yet 
preserved the proper modicum of paint. The three 
half-breeds were the most of all affected, and their de 
jection of countenance was truly pitiful to behold. 

" At precisely ten o clock the condemned were mar 
shaled in a procession, and, headed by Captain Eed- 
field, marched out into the street, and directly across 
through files of soldiers to the scaffold, which had 
been erected in front, and were delivered to the offi 
cer of the day, Captain Burt. They -went eagerly and 
cheerfully, even crowding and jostling each other to 
be ahead, just like a lot of hungry boarders rushing 
to dinner in a hotel. The soldiers who were on guard 
in their quarters stacked arms and followed them, and 
they, in turn, were followed by the clergy, reporters, 

"As they commenced the ascent of the scaffold the 
death-song was again started, and when they had all 
got up, the noise they made was truly hideous. It 
seemed as if Pandemonium had broken loose. It had 


a wonderful effect in keeping up their courage. One 
young fellow, who had been given a cigar by one of 
the reporters just before marching from their quar 
ters, was smoking it on the stand, puffing away very 
coolly during the intervals of the hideous Hi-yi-yi, 
Hi-yi-yi, and even after the cap was drawn over his 
face he managed to get it up over his mouth and 
smoke. Another was smoking his pipe. The noose 
having been promptly adjusted over the necks of 
each by Captain Libby, all was ready for the fatal 

" The solemnity of the scene was here disturbed by 
an incident which, if it were not intensely disgusting, 
might be cited as a remarkable evidence of the con 
tempt of death which is the traditional characteristic 
of the Indian. One of the Indians, in the rhapsody 
of his death-song, conceived an insult to the spectators 
which it required an Indian to conceive, and a dirty 
dog of anjndian to execute. 

" The refrain of his song was to the effect that if a 
body was found near New Ulm with his head cut off, 
and placed in a certain indelicate part of the body, he 
did it. It is I, he sung, it is I ; and suited the ac 
tion to the word by an indecent exposure of his per 
son, in hideous mockery of the triumph of that jus 
tice whose sword was already falling on his head. 

" The scene at this juncture was one of awful inter 
est. A painful and breathless suspense held the vast 
crowd, which had assembled from all quarters to wit 
ness the execution. 

" Three slow, measured, and distinct beats on the 
drum by Major Brown, who had been announced as 
signal officer, and the rope was cut by Mr. Duly (the 



same who killed Lean Bear, and whose family were 
attacked) the scaffold fell, and thirty -seven lifeless 
bodies were left dangling between heaven and earth. 
One of the ropes was broken, and the body of Rat 
tling Kunner fell to the ground. The neck had prob 
ably been broken, as but little signs of life were ob 
served ; but he was immediately hung up again. 


While the signal-beat was being given, numbers were 
seen to clasp the hands of their neighbors, which in 
several instances continued to be clasped till the bod 
ies were cut down. 


"As the platform fell, there was one, not loud, but 
prolonged cheer from the soldiery and citizens who 
were spectators, and then all were quiet and earnest 
witnesses of the scene. For so many, there was but 
little suffering ; the necks of all, or nearly all, were 
evidently dislocated by the fall, and the after strug 
gling was slight. The scaffold fell at a quarter past 
ten o clock, and in twenty minutes the bodies had all 
been examined by Surgeons Le Boutillier, Sheardown, 
Finch, Clark, and others, and life pronounced extinct. 

" The bodies were then cut down, placed in four 
army wagons, and, attended by Company K as a bur 
ial-party, and under the command of Lieutenant Col 
onel Marshall, were taken to the grave prepared for 
them among the willows on the sand-bar nearly in 
front of the town. They were all deposited in one 
grave, thirty feet in length by twelve in width, and 
four feet deep, being laid on the. bottom in two rows, 
with their feet together, and their heads to the outside. 
They were simply covered with their blankets, and the 
earth thrown over them. The other condemned In 
dians were kept close in their quarters, where they 
were chained, and not permitted to witness the exe 

" The forces of the militia were disposed during the 
time of the execution as follows : Colonel Wilkin, in 
command of the 9th and several companies of the 
6th, present at half past eight, took position in line of 
battle in front of the scaffold, and also occupied the 
river front. Colonel Baker, in command of the 10th 
regiment, took up a position on the north side. Lieu 
tenant Colonel Marshall, in command of four compa 
nies of the 7th regiment, took position on the south 


side. Lieutenant Colonel Jennison, in command of 
one company of the 7th and one of the 10th, took po 
sition in the yard of the prison, and, after the platform 
fell, was relieved by Major Bradley, in command of 
two companies of the 10th. Major Buell, in com 
mand of three companies of the Mounted Eangers, 
disposed of his forces around the forces of infantry. 
Captain White s mounted company of the 10th regi 
ment acted as patrol guards. The whole force formed 
a large square, with the scaffold in the centre, from 
which all persons who had no business within the 
lines were excluded. The number present is estima 
ted as follows : 6th regiment, under command of Lieu 
tenant Colonel Averill, 200; 7th regiment, Colonel 
Miller, 425 ; 9th regiment, Colonel Wilkin, 161 ; 10th 
regiment, Colonel Baker, 425; Captain White s mount 
ed men, 35; Mounted Eangers, Major Buell, 273; in 
all, about 1419 men. 

" The arrangement for the execution of so many 
persons at the same instant were most perfect, and 
great credit is due Colonel Miller for devising, and car 
rying out so successfully, his well-digested plan. Nei 
ther can too much credit be given to Captain Burt, the 
officer of the day, Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, Major 
Brown, and Captain Redfield, the provost marshal. 

"All day and night on Thursday, and on the morn 
ing of Friday up to the time of the execution, people 
were continually arriving to witness the hanging. 
Troops were constantly coming in from all points, 
and the streets were densely crowded. The roofs and 
windows of all buildings in the vicinity, and all other 
eligible places, were early occupied by anxious spec 
tators, including the sand-bar in the river and the op- 


posite bank. All was quiet and orderly. Owing to 
the strict enforcement of martial law, not a single case 
of drunkenness or disorderly conduct occurred, and 
after the bodies had been cut down they began to re 
turn from -the scene, many leaving town immediately. 
All expressed themselves as satisfied that the execu 
tion was being carried out, and there were no threats 
or apparent wishes to execute summary vengeance on 
the others." 

In the spring the other condemned were taken 
down the Mississippi to Davenport, and are now close 
ly confined. The people desired their execution as 
an example to other neighboring tribes, and to pre 
vent their again perpetrating other outrages. Per 
haps the effect of the first has been obtained by the 
executions already had; and if the confinement of 
the others remains secure, they have no complaint to 
make, although they think a much easier solution of 
the question, and one consonant with justice, would 
have been to carry out the sentence of the commission. 
Soon after, the inmates of the camp at Fort Snelling 
were removed high up the Missouri, as were also the 
Winnebagoes, where they were placed upon adjoin 
ing reservations. It is a horrible region, filled with 
the petrified remains of the huge lizards and creep 
ing things of the first days of time. The soil is mis 
erable ; rain rarely ever visits it. The game is scarce, 
and the alkaline waters of the streams and springs 
are almost certain death. 




IN the territory of Dakota, nearly; five hundred 
miles northwest of St. Paul, is the celebrated Mini- 
wakan, or Devil s Lake. It is full sixty-five miles in 
length, and its waters are salt as those of the ocean. 
The immediate shores are equally divided between 
prairie and timber; but a mile beyond, the country is 
one vast rolling plain, destitute of trees, and dotted 
over with little lakes of salt water. This inland sea 
is filled with fish; and gulls, and ocean birds, and 
flocks of great white swan are continually skimming 
over its waves. The beach is covered with the petri 
fied remains of wood, and of the bones of fish and ani 

To this neighborhood Little Crow and his follow 
ers, after the defeat at Wood Lake, made their way 
and encamped, where they were joined by nearly all 
the Minnesota Sioux who had not surrendered or been 
captured, numbering some four thousand souls, and by 
the Yanktonais. During the winter the chief sent 
presents to many of the Western tribes, and endeav 
ored to enlist them in a general war ; and about the 
first of June went in person to St. Joseph and Fort 
Garry, in the British possessions, and requested am 
munition. It was refused him. 

When at St. Joseph, Little Crow had on a black 

* Pioneer and Democrat. 



coat, with velvet collar ; a breech -clout of broadcloth ; 
a fine ladies shawl was wrapped around his head, and 
another knotted around his waist. He had discarded 
the rifle, and carried in his hand a " seven -shooter," 
one of the. trophies of the last summer s raid. He 
was aware of the deportation of his friends to the 
Missouri, of which the white residents there had not 
yet received the news. A swift-footed " good Indian" 
had outstripped the mails. Little Crow and sixty of 
his braves accompanied him to Fort Garry, where 
they had a " war-dance," after which the chief made 
a speech, saying " that he considered himself as good 
as dead, but that he had plenty of warriors yet to rely 
on, and would not be caught during the summer." 
He had before been refused a tract of land in the Brit 
ish dominions to settle on, and now the only request 
he said he had to make was a little ammunition " to 
kill Americans" with. With the chief were three 
white captives young boys who were liberated by 
the noble charity of "Father Germaine," a Catholic 
missionary at St. Joseph. A horse was given as ran 
som for the two younger, and a horse and two blank 
ets for the eldest. The good priest allowed himself 
no rest for several days and nights in order to accom 
plish his charitable object. He gave his all, and ran 
in debt to obtain the means of their liberation. The 
following is a letter which he wrote upon the subject 
to Mr. Joseph le May, the collector of the port at 
Pembina : 

" St. Joseph, D. T., June 3, 1863. 

"MR. LE MAY, DEAR SIR, I would be most happy to give you 
many details of my present position, but my occupations do not per 
mit me. I am here continually on the "look-out." I examine the 
different rumors ; I lend a very attentive ear to the Indian meetings, 


etc. The very murmur of the waters, the rustling of the leaves in 
fact, the least noise, rouses my fears. 

"You are aware that Petit Corbeau^ with his bloodthirsty repu 
tation, came to pay a visit to our mountain. Still, his attitude is not 
indeed very sinister. Far from attempting to trouble the peace of 
the half-breeds, he, on the contrary, seems very anxious to gain their 
sympathy. I profited by his peaceful disposition to put into execu 
tion a design that I had formed some time since. Having heard that 
those barbarians had torn away from parental affection that which is 
most dear, I knew that those Sioux had children of civilization under 
their fierce and tyrannical power. Consequently, in order to rescue 
those poor children from such slavery, I gave all the money I pos 
sessed for their ransom. I dressed them with my own clothing, keep 
ing for myself but what is strictly necessary. 

"I have my cross and my breviary ; thus I feel happy and content. 
My privations are amply recompensed. My efforts have been crown 
ed with success." 

A network of fortifications now existed along the 
whole frontier, garrisoned by two thousand soldiers, 
and early in June General Sibley, with a force of be 
tween two and three thousand men, started for Devil s 
Lake, by way of the Minnesota Eiver and Fort Aber- 
crornbie. About the same time, General Sully, with 
a large body of cavalry, passed up the Missouri to co 
operate with Sibley, and cut off the retreat of the sav 

Early in the spring small squads of Indians made 
their way back to the state, and, penetrating far into 
the interior through our defensive lines, renewed the 
massacres of the previous years. They continued 
their depredations throughout most of the season, kill 
ing some thirty whites, with a loss of about a dozen 
of their own number. So bold did they become, that 
they lighted their camp-fires within twelve miles of 
St. Paul. 

The horrible details of the attack upon the Dustin 

rlv *. >*w 

i I 


family, in M Leod County, show that the outrages 
were accompanied by all the barbarities of the pre 
vious season. The family were traveling in an open 
lumber box-wagon, and were attacked on Monday, 
the 29th of June. It was not until the Wednesday 
following that they were found, and the sight of their 
decomposed and mangled bodies were truly awful. 

Amos Dustin, the father, was sitting in the front 
part of the wagon, dead, with an arrow sticking in his 
body, and a deep wound in his breast, probably made 
by a tomahawk or war-club. His left hand had been 
cut off, and carried away by the Indians. 

Beneath his seat crouched a little child of six years, 
who had concealed herself there when the attack was 
made. The life-blood of her father had streamed 
down, covering her face and clothes, and her shoes 
were literally filled with the blood that had trickled 
from the mangled body. She says that the Indians 
saw her, and looked quite sharply at her, but did not 
offer violence. It is probable that she is mistaken 
about this, as she is the only member of the family 
uninjured, and from the displays we have had of sav 
age ferocity, we should not infer that they would 
knowingly spare a victim in their power. 

In another part of the wagon lay the corpse of Mrs. 
Dustin, the grandmother of the children. An arrow 
was in her body also, and her head was hanging over 
the side of the wagon, her long hair disheveled and 
streaming in the air, filled with the clotted blood that 
had flowed from her wounds. 

The mother, and a child twelve years of age, were 
in the wagon, still alive, but so badly wounded that 
no hopes are entertained of their recovery. For two 


days they had lain and suffered beside the dead bodies 
of their friends, unable to procure sustenance or as 

Captain Cody, of the 8th regiment, was shot dead 
while gallantly leading a small squad of his men to 
rout a party of the marauders from some bushes 
where they lay concealed. 

It was in view of such facts that Adjutant General 
Malmros offered a reward for every Indian killed, and, 
with characteristic energy and zeal, organized a band 
of state scouts for service on the frontier. Comment 
ing on his order for this corps, one of the editors of 
the St. Paul Press wrote as follows : 

"While General Sibley s army is moving on, with 
solemn steps and slow, like a terrific Brobdignag, to 
crush the Sioux Lilliput under the ponderous heel of 
strategy, and at the dignified leisure of commissary 
trains, his nimble adversary is crawling through his 
legs and running all around him, and with a total dis 
regard of military science, Hardee s tactics, lines of 
defense, and all that, are burrowing the country be 
hind him with deadly ambuscades, and reviving all 
the terrors of Indian warfare along our whole frontier. 

" A score or two of these copper-faced assassins, 
multiplying themselves by the swiftness and secrecy 
of their movements, are apparently more than a match 
for our whole northwestern army; and a single In 
dian, lurking in the grass, safely and contemptuously 
defies our whole system of garrisons and outposts to 
stop him in his career of murder and mischief; and 
the humiliating fact stares us in the face, that after all 
our vast and elaborate preparations to rid the state of 

* St. Paul Press. 



these infernal red devils, our frontier settlements, ex 
cept some few fortified villages, are almost as defense- 
kss against the peculiar modes of Indian warfare as 
if we hadn t a single military guard in the state. 

"The state authorities have at last come to the 
conclusion that there is no sort of use in trying to 
catch this sort of vermin with horse-rakes, and that 
henceforth we must try the virtue of fine-tooth combs. 
The general order of the adjutant general for a corps 
of scouts is intended to supply the inherent defects of 
the regular military organizations, and to follow and 
hunt Indians wherever they can find them, without 
regard to bases of supplies or the necessities of a reg 
ular service." 

Little Crow s manner at St. Joseph s on the 1st of 
June, in speaking of his foe, was haughty and defiant, 
and he said, if General Sibley desired to know his 
whereabouts, he would find him soon at Yellow Med 

On Friday evening, July 3d, as Mr. Lampson and 
his son Chauncey were traveling along the road, six 
miles north of Hutchinson, they discovered two In 

The ground where the Indians were discovered is a 
little prairie opening in the woods, interspersed with 
clumps of bushes and vines, and a few scattering pop 
lars. The Indians were picking berries, and did not 
discover the Messrs. L. Concealing themselves imme 
diately, Mr. L., after reflecting a moment on the best 
course to be pursued, taking advantage of the cover 
offered by a poplar surrounded with bushes and vines, 
crept quietly forward until he reached the tree. 
Steadying his gun against the tree, and taking delib- 


erate aim, he fired. The Indian instantly threw back 
his hands with a yell, and fell backward to the ground, 
severely wounded. Not knowing how many Indians 
there might be, Mr. L. thought best to retreat a little, 
to obtain the shelter of some bushes. In doing this, 
he had to pass over a little knoll. 

The wounded Indian crept after to obtain a shot at 
Mr. L., who was still partially shielded by the poplar- 
tree and vines. In crossing the little knoll just re 
ferred to, Mr. L. was obliged to expose himself, and 
both Indians and Chauncey L. fired simultaneously. 
Chauncey s ball instantly killed the wounded Indian ; 
the Indian s ball whistled close by Chauncey s cheek, 
while a buckshot from the other Indian s gun struck 
Mr. L. on the left shoulder-blade, making a flesh- 
wound perhaps two inches and a half in length. The 
other Indian then mounted his horse and rode rapid 
ly away. Mr. L. dropped when the shot struck him, 
and Chauncey, thinking his father was killed, and not 
knowing how many Indians there might be around 
them, and having no more ammunition, his father, 
who was at some distance from him, having the am 
munition, now thought it best to retreat and give the 

He reached Hutchinson about ten o clock at night 
with the exciting news, and in a short time a squad 
of Company E, accompanied by a number of the citi 
zens, were marching rapidly toward the scene of the 
recent conflict, while others of the troops and citizens 
started immediately to warn the citizens of Cedar Set 
tlement to be on their guard, and others went to Lake 
Preston for a squad of cavalry. 

But we must now return to Mr. L., whom we left 


wounded on the field. Mr. L., after being wounded, 
crawled into the bushes, and, secreting himself, reload 
ed his gun, drew his revolver, and waited for the In 
dian to come on. Thus he waited for some time. 
After remaining in his concealment until he could 
profit by the cover of coming night, he laid aside his 
gun, threw off his white shirt, lest it might lead to his 
discovery by prowling Indians, and, after a circuitous 
and toilsome march, reached home at two o clock on 
Saturday morning.* 

The detachment of cavalry immediately visited the 
spot, and found the dead body, and tore off the scalp. 
The Indian was above the medium height, and be 
tween fifty and sixty years of age. His hair was 
sprinkled with gray ; his front teeth were double, like 
the back ones, and both arms were deformed ; the 
bones of the right arm had been broken and never 
set, which precluded the use of the hand, and the oth 
er arm was withered. 

The body was carried to Hutchinson, and formed 
the centre of attraction for several hours. It was then 
carried a little distance below the village, and thrown 
into a pit used as a receptacle for the bones and offal 
of slaughtered cattle. About a week afterward the 
head was pushed off with a stick, and left lying on 
the prairie for several days, the brains oozing out in 
the broiling sun. It was afterward picked up and 
deposited in a kettle of lime preparatory to a process 
to render it suitable for a place in the rooms of the 
Historical Society, and the body was thrown into the 
river, to remain until the flesh sloughed off, and the 
bones were in a condition for preservation. 

* Correspondence of the St. Paul Press. 


The remains thus unceremoniously treated were 
those of the foremost hunter and orator among the 
Sioux. He was one who had been forced into the 
war by circumstances against his own better judg 
ment and desires, yet who did not slink from respon 
sibility by a cowardly denial of the part he had taken , 
but boldly classed himself among the worst, and justi 
fied their acts even when fortune pressed him sorest, 
saying in his letter to Sibley, " If the young braves 
have pushed the whites, I have done it myself." The 
remains were those of Tah-o-ah-ta-doo-ta (his scarlet 
people), or Little Crow,* who had made his promise 
to return to the settlements good, and died in the land 
of his fathers before the extermination of his race, fol 
lowing up his foe like a warrior and brave of the Da 

The Indian who escaped was his son Wa-wi-nap-a 
(one who appeareth). He was picked up by a party 
of soldiers nearly a month after, in a half starved con 
dition, near Devil s Lake. This is the statement which 
"Wa-wi-nap-a made in reference to his father, and the 
manner of his death, and his own flight: 

" I am the son of Little Crow ; my name is Wa-wi- 
nap-a , I am sixteen years old ; my father had two 
wives before he took my mother; the first one had 
one son, the second a son and daughter ; the third 
wife was my mother. After taking my mother he 
put away the first two ; he had seven children by my 

* Little Crow was a nickname bestowed upon the chief s grand 
father by the Chippe\vays from wearing a crow s skin upon his breast, 
and the name descended to his grandson. Little Crow formerly lived 
at Kaposia, four miles below St. Paul, and his band was called the 
Lightfoot Band. 


mother ; six are dead ; I am the only one living now : 
the fourth wife had four children born ; do not know 
whether any died or not; two were boys and two 
were girls : the fifth wife had five children ; three of 
them are dead, two are living: the sixth wife had 
three children ; all of them are dead ; the eldest was 
a boy, the other two were girls : the last four wives 
were sisters. 

" Father went to St. Joseph last spring. "When we 
were coming back he said he could not fight the white 
men, but would go below and steal horses from them 
and give them to his children, so that they could be 
comfortable, and then he would go away off. 

" Father also told me that he was getting old, and 
wanted me to go with him to carry his bundles. He 
left his wives and other children behind. There were 
sixteen men and one squaw in the party that went 
below with us. We had no horses, but walked all 
the way down to the settlements. Father and I were 
picking red berries near Scattered Lake at the time 
he was shot. It was near night. He was hit the first 
time in the side, just above the hip. His gun and 
mine were lying on the ground. He took up my gun 
and fired it first, and then fired his own. He was shot 
the second time when he was firing his own gun. 
The ball struck the stock of his gun, and then hit him 
in the side, near the shoulder. This was the shot that 
killed him. He told me that he was killed, and asked 
me for water, which I gave him. He died immedi 
ately after. When I heard the first shot fired, I lay 
down, and the man did not see me before father was 

" A short time before father was killed, an Indian 


named Hi-u-ka, who married the daughter of my fa 
ther s second wife, came to him. He had a horse with 
him also a gray-colored coat that he had taken from 
a man that he had killed to the north of where father 
was killed. He gave the coat to father, telling him 
he might need it when it rained, as he had no coat 
with him. Hi-u-ka said he had a horse now, and was 
going back to the Indian country. 

" The Indians that went down with us separated. 
Eight of them and the squaw went north, the other 
eight went farther down. I have not seen any of them 
since after father was killed. I took both guns and 
the ammunition, and started to go to Devil s Lake, 
where I expected to find some of my friends. When 
I got to Beaver Creek I saw the tracks of two Indians, 
and at Standing Buffalo s village saw where the eight 
Indians that had gone north had crossed. 

" I carried both guns as far as the Cheyenne Biver, 
where I saw two men. I was scared, and threw my 
gun and the ammunition down. After that I traveled 
only in the night, and as I had no ammunition to kill 
any thing to eat, I had not strength enough to travel 
fast. I went on until I arrived near Devil s Lake, 
when I staid in one place three days, being so weak 
and hungry that I could go no farther. I had picked 
up a cartridge near Big Stone Lake, which I still had 
with me, and loaded father s gun with it, cutting the 
ball into slugs ; with this charge I shot a wolf; ate 
some of it, which gave me strength to travel, and I 
went on up the lake until the day I was captured, 
which was twenty-six days from the day my father 
was killed." 




ON the morning of July 20th, General Sibley, leav 
ing a portion of his forces at Camp Atcheson, near 
Devil s Lake, pushed on toward the Missouri Couteau 
with 1400 infantry and 500 cavalry. On the fourth 
day, two members of the expedition, unsuspicious of 
danger, strayed away from the column. The excit 
ing adventure which they met with is detailed by Mr. 
Brackett, the survivor, as follows : 

" We left camp on the 24th at the usual time, about 
five o clock A.M., the first battalion Minnesota Mount 
ed Rangers in the rear. Lieutenant Ambrose Free 
man, Company D, said to me several times that when 
ever I had a chance to go to the flank, he wanted to 
go with me. Soon as I had my cattle started, I went 
to Captain Taylor, and told him if he could spare Cap 
tain Freeman, we wanted to go out on the flank a lit 
tle way. I left the main column about two miles out 
from camp, struck off to the left, and went on to a 
range of hills which was estimated to be about five 
miles from the main column. Saw three scouts out 
about the same distance. After getting there we 
struck a parallel course, and supposed we were going 
in the same direction as the main body. We watered 
our horses in a lake. Saw two other scouts on the 
opposite side of the lake. We then went still farther 


on, over one range of bluffs, probably about three 
quarters of a mile. We followed along parallel, or 
perhaps a little to the left of the main body, a dis 
tance of three miles. 

"Lieutenant Freeman saw three antelope, an old 
and two young ones. We fired and wounded the old 
one. She then made off, I had the lieutenant s horse, 
and he followed her on foot, which took us off our 
course some way round the bluffs. We got into a sec 
tion of country by a large lake, and succeeded in kill 
ing the antelope near the lake. 

"As we were coming down toward the lake, and 
while the lieutenant was creeping up toward the ante 
lope, I saw some scouts on the opposite side of the 
lake, the train in sight on the side hill several miles 
distant. Instead of taking our course back, we had a 
curiosity to go around the lake to where we saw the 
scouts. We saw cherry-bushes newly cut and piled 
up. I set out to tear them down. Lieutenant Free 
man persisted in saying they were Indian signs, and 
Indians were there. We cocked our rifles, and made 
around the bushes, so as not to put ourselves in a too 
exposed condition. We then took our course, as we 
supposed, toward the train, or where the train had 

" Between one and two o clock we discovered three 
objects a long distance off, between us and the train s 
course, and making toward the train. This action, as 
soon as we came near enough to judge, convinced us 
that they were Indians. Yet we still kept toward 
them, and they were making preparations to meet us, 
one leading and the other two riding their horses. We 
got all ready to give them a trial, they creeping around 


on one side of the bluff, and we creeping around to 
meet them. I saw one raise. He had a straw hat on, 
and I recognized him as one of our scouts. He beck 
oned us to come toward him. From all the descrip 
tion that I had of him, I supposed him to be Chaska ; 
the other two were full-blooded Sioux. Both had 
government horses, and armed, one with a Springfield 
rifle, the other with a carbine. I asked him where 
General Sibley was. They pointed to a hill, I should 
judge, three miles distant from where we stood, in the 
direction where the train passed. 

" I saw a large number of men on a bluff, judged to 
be about two hundred in number, whom I supposed 
to be General Sibley s men (in camp), looking upon 
us. We all at once started direct for them. About 
the time we started we saw what we supposed to be a 
guard of cavalry start toward us. After we started 
the scouts turned to a little lake to water their horses ; 
ours being previously watered, we did not go with 
them. We still saw the cavalry (as we supposed) 
coming, about fifteen in number. 

" I remarked to Lieutenant Freeman that they must 
have turned back, as they had disappeared and were 
out of sight. We were soon surprised by seeing fif 
teen Indians charging upon us with a flag of truce. 
As we whirled, they fired a volley upon us. I yelled 
to the scouts that they were Indians. I remarked to 
Lieutenant Freeman that we had better put for the 
scouts. When we got within twenty or twenty -five 
rods of the scouts, we were riding about three rods 
apart. One Indian rode up to Lieutenant Freeman 
and put an arrow through his back, on the left side, 
and at the same time another Indian dismounted and 


discharged his gun at me. I laid low on my horse s 
neck, as close as I possibly could, and Chaska stepped 
up to the top of a knoll and fired once at the Indian 
who fired at me. As Lieutenant Freeman dropped 
from his horse, I asked him if he was hurt. He re 
plied, */ am gone He wished me to cut a piece of 
string which was around his neck, and supported a 
part of the antelope which he was carrying. As I cut 
the string he changed his position more on his side, 
and rested more up-hill. He asked faintly for water. 
The scouts had then mounted their horses and left us. 
The Indians were then all around us, one at the side 
of the lake. As the scouts ran toward them they fell 
back. I then took Lieutenant Freeman s rifle and re 
volver and followed the scouts. Lieutenant Freeman, 
to all appearance, was dead. The Indian mentioned, 
seeing the lieutenant s horse, which followed me, left 
us and broke for the horse. In that way it allowed 
me to overtake the scouts. He succeeded in catching 
the horse. Then the whole crowd started after us 
again. We rode about four miles, when we were sur 
rounded by them again by the side of a little marsh. 
We all jumped off our horses. The scouts made mo 
tions and ran up to meet them, and Chaska motion 
ed for me to jump into the tall rushes on the marsh. 
I saw nothing more of the scouts. The Indians all 
rushed down to where the horses were. I cocked my 
rifle, and lay in the rushes within ten feet of them. 
They got into a wrangle about the horses. They pres 
ently started off, I suppose from fear of being over 
taken by our forces, taking a course around the marsh. 
I lay there about an hour. By accident in putting- 
down the hammer of my rifle, it went off. This was 


about three P.M. There was a shower. After it clear 
ed off I immediately started a course with the sun at 
my back, and traveled two hours. I followed this di 
rection two days, stopping in marshes during the night 
time. I struck a river at night of the second day. It 
was clear water, running in a southerly direction, and 
a quarter of a mile in width. 

" Next morning I struck from there due south, and 
traveled that day until almost night; then took a 
westerly course, concluding that the trail was not in 
that direction; traveled a little north of west, and 
struck General Sibley s trail the afternoon of the third 
day, about twelve miles from where we camped the 
night before I left the main column, and made the 
camp that night. I started next morning for Camp 
Atcheson, and made it in two days. Arrived here 
the second night, between eight and nine o clock, mak 
ing the distance of the four camps in two days bare 
headed, barefooted, and without a coat. I was obliged 
to leave my rifle on the last day of my travel, not hav 
ing sufficient strength to carry it any farther. 

"About ten miles before reaching Camp Atcheson 
I sat down to rest, and had such difficulty in getting 
under way again that I determined to stop no more, 
feeling sure that once again down I should never be 
able to regain my feet unaided. I entered the camp 
near the camp-fire of a detachment of the Pioneers 
(Captain Chase s company of the 9th Minnesota In 
fantry), and fell to the ground, unable to rise again. 
But, thank Grod ! around that fire were sitting some 
St. Anthony friends, among whom were Messrs. 
M Mullen and Whittier, attached to that company, 
who kindly picked me up and carried me to my tent. 


" I lost my coat, hat, and knife in the fight on the 
first day. I took Lieutenant Freeman s knife, and 
with it made moccasins of my boot-legs, my boots so 
chafing my feet in walking that I could not wear 
them. These moccasins were constantly getting out 
of repair, and my knife was as much needed to keep 
them in order for use as to make them in the first 
place. But just before reaching the trail of the expe 
dition on the fifth day I lost Lieutenant Freeman s 
knife. This loss, I felt at the time, decided my fate, 
if I had much farther to go ; but kind Providence was 
in my favor, for almost the first object that greeted 
my eyes upon reaching the trail was a knife, old and 
worn to be sure, but priceless to me. This incident 
some may deem a mere accident ; but let such a one 
be placed in my situation at that time, and he would 
feel with, me that it was a boon granted by the Great 
Giver of good. On the third day, about ten miles 
from the river spoken of, I left Lieutenant Freeman s 
rifle on the prairie, becoming too weak to carry it 
longer; besides, it had already been so damaged by 
rain that I could not use it. I wrote upon it that 
Lieutenant Freeman had been killed, and named the 
course I was then pursuing. I brought the pistol into 
Camp Atcheson. 

"While wandering I lived on cherries, roots, birds 
eggs, young birds, and frogs, caught by hand, all my 
ammunition but one cartridge having spoiled by the 
rain on the first day. That cartridge was one for 
Smith s breech-loading carbine, and had a gutta-per 
cha case. I had also some water-proof percussion 
caps in my porte-monnaie. I took one half the pow 
der in the cartridge and a percussion cap, and with 


the pistol and some dry grass started a nice fire, at 
which I cooked a young bird, something like a loon, 
and about the size. This was on the second night. 
On the fourth I used the remainder of the cartridge 
in the same way and for a like purpose. The rest of 
the time I ate my food uncooked, except some hard 
bread (found at the fourth camp mentioned above), 
which had been fried and then thrown into the ashes. 
I have forgotten one sweet morsel (and all were sweet 
and very palatable to me), viz., some sinews spared by 
the wolves from a buffalo carcass. As near as I am 
able to judge, I traveled in the seven days at least two 
hundred miles. I had ample means for a like journey 
in civilized localities, but for the first time in my life 
found gold and silver coin a useless thing. My boot 
leg moccasins saved me ; for a walk of ten miles upon 
such a prairie, barefooted, would stop all farther prog 
ress of any person accustomed to wear covering upon 
the feet. The exposure at night, caused more partic 
ularly by lying in low and wet places in order to hide 
myself, was more prostrating to me than scarcity of 
food. The loneliness of the prairies would have been 
terrible in itself but for the drove of wolves that, after 
the first day, hovered, in the daytime, at a respectful 
distance, and in the night howled closely around me, 
seemingly sure that my failing strength would soon 
render me an easy prey. But a merciful Providence 
has spared my life by what seems now, even to my 
self, almost a miracle." 

The body of Lieutenant Freeman was afterward 
found by members of General Sibley s main force and 
buried. An arrow had pierced his breast, and the 
tomahawk and scalping-knife had left bloody traces 



,-ibout his head.* They buried him 011 the desolate 
plain, five hundred miles away from the loved wife 
and children who bemoan his sad and untimely fate. 

* Correspondence of the Pioneer and Democrat. 





" ON the 24th of July, about one o clock, as the ex 
pedition under General Sibley was moving along the 
western base of a great hill or ridge of the Couteau 
Missouri, scouts who were in the advance returned 
with the report that the force was in the immediate 
vicinity of a large camp of Indians. Other scouts 
came who had seen the Indians, and believed them to 
be preparing in great numbers for battle; that they 
were then collecting in the rocky ravines and behind 
the ridges of the great hill. Soon the Indians were 
seen on the Big Mound, the highest peak of the hill. 
The train was turned off to the right a little way, and 
corraled on a salt lake. 

" Details of men were made to throw up intrench- 
ments, so that a small number of men could defend 
the train and camp while the main force should be 
engaged elsewhere. The camp was encircled by the 
several regiments, with the artillery placed at inter 
vals between. The Big Mound was directly east of 
camp, a mile and a quarter distant; a succession of 
hills, or the broken side of the big hill, rising from 
the camp to the Big Mound. There was a ravine di 
rectly east of camp which extended nearly to the Big- 

"The 6th regiment was placed on the north side 
O 2 


of the corral, its left resting on the lake; the 10th 
regiment next to the 6th, fronting northeast, and to 
the left of the ravine ; the 7th regiment on the right 
of the 10th, fronting east and southeast on the ravine; 
the cavalry on the south side of the camp, with its 
right flank on the lake. 

" These dispositions had hardly been made before 
the report of fire-arms was heard on the hill directly 
in front of the 7th regiment. Some of the scouts had 
gone part way up the hill, and were talking with the 
Indians. Dr. Weiser, surgeon of the Mounted Ean- 
gers, joined them, and shook hands with one or two 
Indians whom he had probably known at Shakopee. 
One Indian advanced and shot him through the heart. 
He fell and died without speaking a word. The scouts 
fired, and the Indians fell back behind the ridge, re 
turning the fire, one shot taking effect upon scout 
Solon Stevens, of Mankato. It proved to be but a 
slight wound in the hip. The ball had first passed 
through his rubber blanket, which- was rolled up on 
his saddle. An ambulance was promptly sent out, 
which met the body of Dr. Weiser being brought in 
on a horse. 

"The first battalion of cavalry Captain Taylor, 
Wilson, and Anderson s companies was promptly 
ordered to the scene of Dr. Weiser s death, where the 
scouts were skirmishing with the Indians. They found 
the ground so broken that they dismounted and sent 
their horses back to camp. Major Bradley, with Cap 
tains Stevens and Gilfillan s companies of the 7th, were 
ordered to the support of the cavalry. The gener 
al, with a 6-pounder, advanced to a hill on the left 
of the ravine, and began to shell the Indians at the 


head of the ravine and about the Big Mound. Cap 
tain Edgerton s company of the 10th supported the 

" The 6th regiment was deployed on the foot-hills 
in front of its line, to the north and northeast of camp, 
Captain Banks s company of the 7th on the right of 
the 6th regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, with 
the remaining five companies of the 7th regiment, 
Captains Kennedy, Williston, Hall, Carter, and Arnold, 
advanced up the ravine toward the Big Mound, and 
deployed on the left of the dismounted cavalry and 
Major Bradley s line. 

"The artillery, under the immediate direction of 
the general, drove the Indians out from the head of 
the ravine and from about the Big Mound. They fell 
back to the table-land east of the mound, and into the 
broken ridges and ravines southward. They had come 
from that quarter, their camp being formed around the 
hill about five miles ahead. 

"The shelling they received near the Big Mound 
prevented their getting around to the northward in 
any considerable numbers. They were massed on the 
broken ground to the south of the mound. 

"The line of the 7th regiment and the three com 
panies of cavalry named advanced steadily and rapid 
ly, pouring a constant fire into the Indians, which 
reached them before^their shorter range guns could 
have any effect on our troops. The left of the 7th 
crossed the summit range just to the right of the 
mound, and, flanking the right of the Indians, swept 
around to the southward, and pursued them through 
the ridges and ravines on the east of the range, while 
Major Bradley, and Captains Taylor and Anderson, 


pressed them hotly on the west side. Captain Wil 
son, of the cavalry, crossed to the right of the mound, 
and pursued some Indians that separated from the 
main body and retreated more directly eastward. 

" The Indians were thus pursued three or four miles, 
and until they were completely dislodged and driven 
from the hills to a broad plain southward. They 
would try to hold ridge after ridge, and to cover them 
selves in the ravines, but the better weapons of the 
whites were too much for them. They were sparing 
of ammunition, and probably not over half had fire 
arms. Their number exceeded a thousand warriors. 

"As they were precipitately retreating down the 
ravines, toward the plain, after the last stand, two 
companies of cavalry, Captain Austin s and Lieutenant 
Barton s, under the immediate command of Colonel 
M Phaill, took the advance and charged the Indians, 
doing execution. Corporal Hazlep was shot in the 
shoulder by an Indian he was riding on to. Colonel 
M Phaill thrust his sabre through the Indian. It was 
here that a stroke of lightning killed Private John 
Murphy, of Company B, and his horse, and stunned 
another cavalryman. Colonel M Phalli s grasp was 
loosened on his sword by the shock. He thought 
a shell had fallen among them. This momentarily 
checked the charge and rendered it less effective, the 
Indians getting out on the plain^where their immense 
numbers deterred any farther charge until the cavalr} r 
could be re-enforced. 

"Lieutenant Colonel Marshall had left his line for 
a moment, and, taking care of Colonel M Phalli s right 
flank, charged down the hill with the Bangers. In 
an effort to cut off some Indians to the right, he got 


into rather close quarters with some of them. The 
thunder-stroke checked the cavalrymen that he 
thought were following him in the dash. He wheeled 
his horse in time to avoid a single-handed encounter 
with a dozen warriors. 

" While the dismounted companies of cavalry were 
getting their horses from camp, and Captains Kubles, 
Davey, and Lieutenant Johnson s companies, that had 
been on the right of the hill with Major Bradley, were 
being formed for the pursuit, the Indians had got three 
or four miles away. Their families had been started 
ahead, and the warriors were covering the rear of the 
train. The cavalry pursued, and the 7th regiment 
followed on. Lieutenant Whipple s section of the 
battery was sent forward, and Company B, of the 10th, 
to support it. The cavalry reached the Indians before 
dark, and made five successive charges on their rear, 
killing a great number. The battery and the 7th reg 
iment were not up in time to take a hand. 

"The Indians fought desperately. One stalwart 
warrior, with an American flag wrapped around him 
theatrically, fired twice while the cavalry were within 
twenty rods charging upon him, his balls taking effect 
in the overcoat and saddle of Private Green, and rub 
ber blanket of Carlson, of Company F. The Indian 
got the powder down, but not the ball, for the third 
load, which he discharged at the breast of Archy 
M Kee, of Company F, of course without effect. He 
then clubbed his gun and struck Carlson, nearly un 
horsing him. A dozen carbine balls were put into 
him, and then he had to be sabred to finish him. 

" Gustaf Stark, of Company B, was killed in one of 
these charges, and Andrew Moore dangerously, if not 
mortall wounded. 


" The cavalry boys took twenty-one scalps in this 

"Colonel M Phaill had told them that it was very 
barbarous to take scalps, but that he wouldn t believe 
any man had killed an Indian unless he showed the 
hair, and enough of it, so that two locks couldn t be 
taken from the same head.* 

" The trail of the Indians was strewed with tons of 
dried buffalo meat, pemmican, robes, and undressed 
buffalo skins, besides camp furniture. It was a wild 
flight, in which they abandoned every thing that im 
peded them. Much of this stuff they left in camp. 

"The 7th regiment, with Company B of the 10th, 
had reached a point ten or twelve miles from camp, 
the artillery a point farther advanced, while Colonel 
M Phaill was engaged fifteen miles from camp. Dark 
ness came on, and Colonel Marshall ordered a bivouac 
of his men and Captain Edgerton s company of the 
10th. Guards were posted, and the exhausted men 
had lain down to sleep, when Colonel M Phaill return 
ed on his way to camp, having received an order not 
to pursue after dark, and mistakenly delivered to 
return to camp. The general intended to leave it dis 
cretionary with Colonel M Phaill to bivouac or return 
to camp accordingly as he might have got many miles 

* In all Indian wars the whites have taken scalps. 

The Massachusetts government paid from fifteen to two hundred 
pounds for every scalp. Hannah Dustin, her boy, and a nurse, of 
Haverhill, killed and scalped ten of their Indian captors on an island 
in the Merrimac, and escaped with a bag full of their bloody trophies. 
In the Black Hawk war the United States paid the Sioux a reward 
for every Sauk and Fox scalp taken. This mutilation was not adopt 
ed as retaliation, but to obtain the infallible evidence of the death of 
the murderers. 


away or be near to camp. The infantry joined the 
cavalry and artillery, and marched until daylight the 
next morning before reaching camp, having been 
twenty-four hours marching or fighting, and since ten 
o clock in the morning without water. 

"The general was just ready to leave camp with 
the other forces, but the exhausted condition of the 
men and cavalry horses that had been out all night 
precluded the march that day. This unfortunate mis 
take delayed the pursuit two days, for it required the 
next day s march, the 26th, to reach the point of the 
cavalry fight of the night of the 24th." 


" Camp was moved on the 25th three miles, on to 
the great hill where a pond of fresh water and grass 
was found. Murphy s and Stark s bodies were buried 
at Camp Sibley, below the hill ; Dr. Weiser s was 
buried at Camp Whitney, on the hill. 

" The march was resumed on the 26th, and Dead 
Buffalo Lake reached about noon. The Indians were 
seen in the distance advancing toward us. It was not 
known that there was any good camping place within 
reach that day ahead, and it was decided to go into 
camp on the lake. 

"Lieutenant Whipple s 6-pounders were advanced 
to a hill half a mile in advance toward the Indians, 
and the 6th regiment was deployed forward to sup 
port the battery and engage the Indians. 

" The Indians circled around, got on the high knolls 
and ridges, and took observations, but seemed indis 
posed to commence hostilities. The artillery shelled 
them when they ventured near enough, and the 


skirmishers gave them shots when they approached 
any where near the camp. 

"Thus some hours passed without the Indians de 
veloping their purpose. A large portion of them kept 
out of sight. Finally, about three o clock, a mounted 
force of Indians suddenly dashed in on the north side 
of the camp, where mules had been turned out to graze, 
and where teamsters were getting grass. 

"They had almost reached them, when Captain Wil 
son s and Davey s companies of cavalry the latter 
under Lieutenant Kidder putting their horses to the 
j ump, dashed upon the Indians, and so dismayed them 
that they wheeled their ponies to escape, but not in 
time to escape the carbine shots, followed by the re 
volver and sabre, that left a goodly number of the red 
warriors on the field. Some of the scouts did good 
service in this charge. 

" One wounded Indian tried to escape by seizing 
his horse s tail ; but, unfortunately for him, the pony 
got a shot in the shoulder. John Platt, of Company 
L, dashed up to finish the Indian with his revolver, 
but it didn t go off, and before he could check his horse 
he was upon the Indian, who had reserved a shot in 
his gun, which he fired into the thigh and bowels of 
poor Platt, giving him his death-wound. Joe Camp 
bell, one of the scouts, tried to save Platt, but it was 
too" late. Campbell s shot, fired at the same instant 
that the Indian fired the fatal shot at Platt, went 
through the vitals of the savage and finished him. 
Platt s comrades, exasperated at his mortal wound, 
tore the Indian s scalp from his head before he was 

"A part of the 6th regiment, under Major M Laren, 


bad returned to camp, and was on their color line, on 
the side where the Indians made the dash. They 
promptly advanced to the support of the cavalry, and 
took a hand in. Thus the 6th, among the infantry 
regiments, on this day did the fighting. The cavalry 
and artillery, in this as in the previous and subsequent 
engagement, had always their full share of work. The 
Indians appeared on the south side of the camp, out 
of range, but made no farther attack." 


" The march was resumed on the 27th, and the 
trail, still marked by robes and other articles, was fol 
lowed toward the Missouri Eiver. 

" After a march of nearly twenty miles, camp was 
pitched on a small lake half a mile long and twenty 
rods wide. 

" On the morning of the 28th, just as the rear of 
the train was filing around the south end of the lake, 
the advance being nearly to the top of a long hill, the 
Indians suddenly made their appearance in front and 
on the flanks, rapidly circling around to the rear. 
They were in immense numbers, seemingly all 

" Major Joe Brown, guide, and some of the scouts, 
who were in advance, narrowly escaped being cap 
tured. The 10th regiment, Colonel Baker, which was 
in the advance, promptly and gallantly met the attack 
in front, which was the first demonstration of the In 
dians. The artillery was quickly brought into play, 
and the savages drew back to a safe distance. Colo 
nel Crooks,* with the 6th regiment, on the right flank, 

* Colonel Crooks is a prompt, first-class officer, who received his 


held them at bay and effectually guarded the train, 
while the cavalry on the left, and the 7th regiment 
and cavalry in the rear, presented an unassailable line. 
The Indians got partly under cover of broken ground 
at the south end of the lake, but were soon dislodged 
by the fire of Lieutenant Western s section of the bat 
tery and a line of skirmishers of the 7th. One shot 
from an Indian, evidently aimed at Colonel Marshall 
while he was locating a howitzer, struck the ground 
at his feet. The most determined effort, however, to 
make a breach was in front, and was fairly resisted by 
the 10th regiment, so that it had its day of fighting. 

"The Indians, as they came on at first, were heard 
to say, It is too late, it is too late, evidently having 
expected to surprise the force in camp. Another In 
dian answered, We must fight for our children. 

"After seeing that the proper dispositions had been 
made for guarding the train, the general ordered the 
column to move forward regardless of the Indians. 
The Indians, seeing the purpose of the whites to press 
on toward their families, quickly withdrew, the whole 
demonstration not delaying the march over two hours. 

"General Sibley, Major Brown, and others, esti 
mated the number of Indians this day at over two 
thousand. In the battle of Big Mound were all the 
Lower Indians, the Sissetons, and part of the Yankto- 
nais. In the last day s fight, that of Stony Lake, they 
had been re-enforced by another camp of Yanktonais, 
and some Tetons from the west side of the Missouri 
Eiver. The whites captured a Teton boy who had 
no gun, and was subsequently released at the Missouri 

military education at West Point. His knowledge and experience 
were of great avail upon the expeditions of 1862 and 1863. 


Kiver. This Teton and an old squaw were the only 
prisoners taken in battle or near a battle. The sup 
plications for life of the wretches when they had fired 
their last shot were generally met by a sabre- thrust 
that finished them." 


"No more Indians were encountered until the banks 
of the Missouri were reached on the morning of the 
29th. The Indians had made good use of the night, 
and got their families and ponies over. Their wag 
ons, to the number of over one hundred, and a rem 
nant of their plunder that had not been strewn along 
the route of their flight, was left on the east bank of 
the river. The Indians crowded the bluffs on the west 

" The 6th regiment, then in the advance, advanced, 
deployed as skirmishers, through the woods a mile 
and a half to the river. As they were starting to re 
turn, a heavy volley, that came from the high grass on 
the opposite bank, fell harmless about them or short 
of them. They stopped a moment to return it, but the 
distance was too great for effect. 

" "While Colonel Crooks was at the river, the gener 
al sent an order by Lieutenant Beever, aid-de-camp. 
On his return with an answer, Lieutenant Beever mis 
took a trail that led down the river, where his body 
was found next day pierced by three arrows and a 
ball. He had also wounds from a tomahawk on his 
head. His horse lay near him. Two pools of blood 
twenty paces from his body indicated that two of his 
murderers had paid dearly for his life. On the same 
trail was found the body of Private Nicholas Miller, 


of Company K, 6th regiment, who had made the same 
mistake in taking the trail that Beever had. 

" Two days were passed in camp at the mouth of 
Apple Creek, on the Missouri, opposite Burnt Boot 
Island, and then the homeward march was resumed. 
The expedition had but fifteen days rations, nine or 
ten of which would be consumed in returning to Gamp 
Atcheson. It would take two or three days to cross 
the Missouri, so that all the surplus would have been 
consumed in crossing and recrossing the river. 

"The animals were completely worn down. Over 
twelve miles a day could not be made on the scanty 
feed they were getting. It would therefore have been 
useless to go farther. Much had been accomplished. 
Forty-four bodies of warriors had been found, many 
more carried off and concealed. The season s supplies 
of meat and clothing material, and their wagons, were 
destroyed. The bowlings of the squaws that came 
across the river told the tale of their misery and de 

It was hoped that General Sully would have ar 
rived in time to co-operate with General Sibley, but 
no indications of his whereabouts could then be ascer 

General Sibley, after the battles, caused the follow 
ing order to be read on dress parade : 

Copy of General Orders No. 51. 

"To the Officers and Soldiers of the Expeditionary Force in Camp: 

" It is proper for the brigadier general commanding 
to announce to you that the march to the west and 

* The account of these battles, as furnished by Lieutenant Colonel 
Marshall, is taken from the St. Paul Press. 


north is completed, and that to-morrow the column 
will move homeward, to discharge such other duties 
connected with the objects of the expedition on the 
way as may from time to time present themselves. 

"In making this announcement, General Sibley ex 
presses also his high gratification that the campaign 
has been a complete success. The design of the gov 
ernment in chastising the savages, and thereby pre 
venting for the future the raids upon the frontier, has 
been fully accomplished. You have routed the mis 
creants who murdered our people last year, banded as 
they were with the Upper Sioux to the number of 
nearly 2000 warriors, in three successive engagements, 
with heavy loss, and driven them in confusion and 
dismay across the Missouri Eiver, leaving behind 
them all their provisions, vehicles, and skins designed 
for clothing, which have been destroyed. Forty -four 
bodies of warriors have been found, and many others 
concealed or taken away, according to the custom of 
these savages, so that it is certain that they have lost 
in killed and wounded not less than from one hund 
red and twenty to one hundred and fifty men. All 
this has been accomplished with the comparatively 
trifling loss on our part of three killed and as many 
wounded. You have marched nearly six hundred 
miles from St. Paul, and the powerful bands of the 
Dakotas, who have heretofore held undisputed posses 
sion of these great prairies, have succumbed to your 
valor and discipline, and sought safety in flight. The 
intense heat and drouth have caused much suffering, 
which you have endured without a murmur. The 
companies of the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th regiments of 
Minnesota Volunteers, First Minnesota Mounted Ean- 


gers, and the sections of the battery, have amply sus 
tained the reputation of the state by their bravery and 
endurance amid unknown dangers and great hard 
ships. Each has had opportunity to distinguish itself 
against a foe at least equal in numbers to itself. 

" It would be a gratification if these remorseless 
savages could have been pursued and utterly extir 
pated, for their crimes and barbarities merited such a 
full measure of punishment ; but men and animals are 
alike exhausted after so long a march, and a farther 
pursuit would only be futile and hopeless. The mili 
tary results of the campaign have been fully accom- 
plished ; for the savages have not only been destroyed 
in great numbers, and their main strength broken, 
but their prospects for the future are hopeless indeed, 
for they can hardly escape starvation during the com 
ing winter. 

" It is peculiarly gratifying to the brigadier general 
commanding to know that the, tremendous fatigues 
and manifold dangers of the expedition thus far have 
entailed so small a loss of life on his command. A 
less careful policy than that adopted might have ef 
fected the destruction of more of the enemy, but that 
could only have been done by a proportional expo 
sure on our part, and the consequent loss of many 
more lives, bringing sorrow and mourning to our own 
homes. Let us therefore return thanks to a merciful 
God for His manifest interposition in our favor, and 
for the success attendant upon our efforts to secure 
peace to the borders of our own state, and of our 
neighbors and friends in Dakota Territory. And as 
we proceed on our march toward those most near and 
dear to us, let us be prepared to discharge other du- 


ties which may be imposed upon us during our jour 
ney with cheerful and willing hearts. 

" To the regimental and company officers of the 
command the brigadier general commanding tenders 
his warmest thanks for their co-operation and aid, on 
every occasion, during the passage of the column 
through the heart of an unknown region inhabited by 
a subtle and merciless foe. To the friends and fami 
lies of our fallen comrades, we have our warmest sym 
pathies to offer in their bereavement. 

" General Sibley takes this occasion to express his 
appreciation of the activity and zeal displayed by the 
members of his staff, one and all. 

"By command of Brigadier General SIBLEY."* 

"The point on the Missouri reached by General 
Sibley was in latitude 46 42 , longitude 100 35 , 
about forty miles by land below Fort Clarke. The 
distance from Fort Snelling, by the line of march, was 
made by Colonel Crooks to be 585 miles."f 

" The entire list of casualties up to July 31st was 
as follows : 

* Henry H. Sibley was born at Detroit in 1812. In 1834 he com 
menced his residence at Mendota, at the mouth of the Minnesota Riv 
er, as an employe of the American Fur Company, where he has ever 
since resided. He was the first delegate to Congress from the Terri 
tory of Minnesota, and the first governor of the state. In person he 
is tall, portly, and commanding. His attention to whatever he un 
dertakes is systematic and unwearied, and his reputation for honesty 
and courage unquestioned. Captain Olin acted as his adjutant gen 
eral during the campaign of 1863. That position was filled in 1862, 
after Colonel Fowler s resignation, by Major Joseph R. Brown, long 
a resident in the Indian country, and whose invaluable advice, to 
gether with that of Messrs. Riggs and Forbes, General Sibley fre 
quently availed himself of. t Pioneer and Democrat. 


"Killed. Dr. Weiser, of Shakopee, surgeon to the 
Mounted Eangers ; F. J. Holt Beever, aid to General 
Sibley, with rank of lieutenant ; Lieutenant Freeman, 
of the Mounted Kangers ; G. A. Stark, of St. Peter s, 
of the Eangers; John Murphy, of Waseca, of the 
Eangers killed by lightning ; John Platt, of Fillmore 
County, Company L, Mounted Eangers ; Nicholas Mil 
ler, of the 6th regiment. Wounded. Andrew Moar, 
of Fillmore County, of the Mounted Eangers ; Cor 
poral "William B. Hezlep, Company B, 1st Minnesota 
Mounted Eangers ; Sergeant James E. Grady, Com 
pany L, 1st Minnesota Mounted Eangers."* 

* St. Paul Press. 




THE hostilities of the Sioux have not yet ended. 
The Yanktonais and Tetons have suffered but little, 
and their warriors are numerous and by no means 
cowed. Neither tribe ever entered into treaties with 
the government, and are not dependent upon it for 
support. The" Tetons cherish a deadly hatred toward 
the whites for the massacre of their families several 
years ago by General Harney s forces, and the Yank 
tonais have been threatening hostilities ever since the 
treaties of 1851 and 1852 for the land in Minnesota, 
in which they rightfully claimed an interest, and for 
which they received no compensation. The recent 
-battles in which they were engaged will but inflame 
their resentment, and we shall have, unless vigorous 
measures are taken against it, a lengthy continuation 
of the desolating war upon the frontier. 

Most of the tribes beyond these are seriously dis 
affected, and loud in their complaints against the gov 
ernment, as the report made last year to Congress 
upon Indian Affairs will show. Some of them have 
been actually engaged in hostilities, and their natural 
desire for war may induce them to join the others. 
Pontiac s war lasted six, and the Seminole war seven 
years. In the spring another expedition should be 
fitted out to inflict farther chastisement upon all 
wrong-doers, and enforce security. 

In the mean time the frontier should be carefully 


guarded with a large force. The Mounted Bangers, 
whose term of service will soon expire, should be in 
duced to re-enlist, and Major Hatch s* battalion should 
be increased to a regiment. These are necessary for 
patrol duty and the speedy relief of any post which 
might suddenly be attacked, and more especially for 
the hunting down of small parties of murderers, who, 
by the celerity and secrecy of their movements, evade 
the pursuit of infantry. 

There is another nation of Indians who are to be 
feared more than those who are engaged in open war, 
because the government is not aware of the danger 
which exists, and are taking no precautions against it. 
That nation is the Chippeway. They extend from 
Dakota to the St. Lawrence. The number of their 
warriors in the United States alone is fully four thou 
sand, and there are nearly as many more in the Brit 
ish Possessions. 

The Sioux war has already cost the country over 
ten millions of dollars, and will cost many millions 
more before its completion. The scene of military 
operations against them is a prairie country, where the 
hiding-places are few and pursuit easy. What will be 
the expenses of a conflict with the Chippeways, who 
are mostly located in a wilderness filled with lakes, 
swamps, and thickets ? Ninety thousand square miles 
of such territory, closely bordered by settlements of 
the whites, is included in their possessions in Wiscon 
sin and Minnesota.f 

* Major Hatch has lived among the Indians many years, and is 
thoroughly acquainted with their mode of warfare. Fearless, inde 
fatigable, and vigilant, no better commander could be selected. 

f The Scminoles, to whose seven years war one with the Chippo 


This formidable foe, at least so far as the latter 
states are concerned, are as dissatisfied as the Sioux, 
from similar causes, and their grievances have been 
of as long standing. They have often importuned for 
redress, but in vain. In the spring preceding the Si 
oux massacre, Hole-in-the-Day visited Washington to 
expose their grievances ; but an audience was so long 
delayed by those in authority that he returned in dis 
gust, and advised a junction with the Sioux. 

This was prevented by their hereditary enmity to 
ward the latter, and the interposition and promises of 
the Hon. Henry M. Eice, and other whites who had in 
fluence with them, and by a solemn treaty that their 
wrongs should be inquired into by commissioners 
(who were then appointed) and forthwith redressed. 
Over a year has elapsed, and no such examination or 
redress has been authorized by the government. 

Last winter a number of the chiefs were taken to 
Washington, and there, in the absence of their braves and 
head men, a treaty was agreed to for the cession of a 
part of their lands. The chiefs passed through St. 
Paul on their return, and were then in a state of beast 
ly intoxication. The Indians were dissatisfied with 
their action, and put one of them to death. 

ways has been likened, were able to bring into the field only 1910 war 
riors, of whom 250 were their negro slaves, and occupied only 47,000 
square miles of territory. The United States sent against them more 
than 20,000 men, and paid $20,000,000 to militia and volunteers, or 
to compensate losses incurred by citizens, exclusive of the expenditures 
pertaining to the regular army. Blood-hounds were used to hunt them 
down ; a reward of $200 was given for every Indian killed ; 750 
Creek Indians were employed to assist the whites ; the best generals 
in the service were placed in command, including General Scott ; and 
yet the United States had to abandon the attempt to remove all the 
Seminoles from the country, and were forced at last to make a treaty 
with them. 


The very fact of a treaty being made at Washing 
ton and not at home is ominous of clanger. Eecollect 
the treaties of 1858, which were there made with the 
Sioux chiefs. From that time they lost all influence 
with their young men, who believed they had been 
bribed with presents. 

The magazine of combustibles which have been ac 
cumulating for years is rapidly approaching reple 
tion, and the spark of fire will not be wanting. The 
Sioux war, when the minds of the people were in such 
a condition, grew out of the breaking of a few hens 

What shall be done ? 

1. Place an adequate force for security upon every 
reservation, and keep it there. Men can easily be in 
duced to volunteer for such service. It will be cheap 
er than afterward to employ ten times the number of 
experienced troops, who are needed elsewhere, after 
hundreds of people are massacred and their property 

2. Let the commissioners, who were appointed in 
good faith by the Indians and the state authorities, 
with the concurrence of Commissioner Doll, of the In 
dian Department, for the adjustment of grievances, be 
empowered to proceed, and let ample reparation be 

3. Pay the Indians henceforth their dues in full. If 
robberies are committed by Indians, deduct the value 
of the article stolen from the annuity due the culprit, 
and not from the general fund of all, and let this not 
be done on an ex-parte statement, but after a full ex 
amination, in which the accused shall have an oppor 
tunity to be heard. 


4. Let the stipulations of the treaties for farming- 
implements, seeds, goods, etc., be fully carried out. 

These three last recommendations have been guar 
anteed to the Indians by solemn treaty. 

5. Eemove the traders from the reservations, and 
let the government furnish the Indians with goods ; 
also prohibit all traffic on credit between the whites 
and Indians by making the contract void. The trad 
ers now engaged in the business should be fully re 
munerated for the loss they will incur, as they em 
barked in the trade in good faith. 

6. Justice and humanity require that, as we have 
deprived the Indian of his occupation of hunting and 
the indulgence of the wild habits of centuries, we 
should make a genuine attempt to have him adapt him 
self to his altered condition. Such an attempt has 
never yet been made, although the treaties contem 
plate it, and the officials pretend it has been done. A 
proper code of laws and policy, having in view this 
end, should be adopted, and their administration in 
trusted to the state government, which should also be 
made the medium for the disbursement of the goods, 
etc., due under the treaties. The federal government 
is never awakened to the corruption, inefficiency, and 
want of knowledge which pervades the Indian De 
partment until some awful catastrophe shocks the 
public heart, and then it quickly relapses again into 
its accustomed lethargy. I recently saw in the Her 
ald an editorial note that serious charges against the 
department had been handed in for publication, but 
that the public were too much occupied with more im 
portant matters to justify any notice of them. 

Let the officer intrusted with the administration of 


Indian affairs be responsible to a people whose lives 
and fortunes are dependent upon the performance of 
his duties, and whose situation is such as to enable 
them to know when he does perform them, and we 
shall have fewer massacres and less sins to answer for 
as a nation. Penn treated the Indians honestly and 
fairly, and for nearly a century the history of the 
commonwealth which he founded was unstained by 
the bloody records of barbarities which characterize 
the annals of the other states. 

The Chippeways are less warlike than the Sioux, 
and having been accustomed to live more upon fish, 
and upon wild rice and corn, than upon the products 
of the chase, will be the more easily induced to adopt 
the habit of cultivating the soil ; and much of their 
land is of such a nature as not to be speedily needed 
by the whites. If the government will take prompt 
and proper action in the premises, " out of the nettle 
danger we may pluck the flower safety." The tide 
of travel which was setting across the continent for 
the distant Pacific, so suddenly checked, will flow on 
again with redoubled volume the buffalo, who has 
come far within the former bounds of civilization, 
speed away the scarred and devastated fields wave 
once more with the bounteous harvest the blighted 
homestead rear its peaceful walls, clad with clamber 
ing vines, and vocal with the songs of happy child 
hood ; and the " North Star State," the state of lakes, 
and streams, and bounteous lands, and healthful, in 
vigorating air, and steel-blue skies, become in the fu 
ture, as it has been in the past, the resort of the emi 
grant from every clime. 


As confirmatory of some of the statements and views contained in 
the foregoing pages, I append the following Missionary Paper issued 
by the "Bishop Seabtiry Mission" of Minnesota in January, 1863. 


There are times when the Christian laborer has the right to ask for 
the sympathy, the prayers, and the co-operation of all good men ; for 
this reason I ask the calm attention of my fellow-citizens to an appeal 
in behalf of one of the most wretched races of heathen men on the 
earth. I do not make this plea simply for a heathen race I plead 
for every interest which is dear to my heart. The fair fame of the 
state, the blessing of God upon the nation, the protection of peaceful 
citizens from savage violence, the welfare of our children, and the 
prosperity of the Church of Christ, are bound up in our settlement of 
this Indian question. It is too late to shrink f^om responsibility. 
The fearful issues are upon us, and as we settle them justly or unjust 
ly, we shall receive the blessing or the curse of Almighty God. 

It is not a pleasant task to make an appeal where excited public 
feeling may arouse unkind suspicions and unjust accusations. Few 
men love more than myself the approval of their fellow-citizens, and 
none desire more the affection of those among whom they labor. I 
dare not be silent ; I fear less the reproaches of the people than the 
anger of God. 

The nation has heard of the most fearful Indian massacre in his 
tory ; but those who live remote from the border can have no idea of 
the awful horrors which have accompanied the desolation of two 
hundred miles of the fairest country on the earth. Many of these 
victims of savage ferocity were my friends. They had mingled their 
voices with mine in prayer ; they had given to me such hospitality as 
can only be found in the log cabin of the frontier. It fills my heart 
with grief, and blinds my eyes with tears, whenever I think of their 


nameless graves. It is because I love them, and would save others 
from their fate, that I ask that the people shall lay the blame of this 
great crime where it belongs, and rise up with one voice to demand 
the reform of an atrocious Indian system, which has always garnered 
for us the same fruit of anguish and blood. 

There is not a man in America who ever gave an hour s calm re 
flection to this subject who does not know that our Indian system is 
an organized system of robbery, and has been for years a disgrace to 
the nation. It has left savage men without governmental control; 
it has looked on unconcerned at every crime against the law of God 
and man ; it has fostered savage life by wasting thousands of dollars 
in the purchase of paint, beads, scalping-knives, and tomahawks ;* it 
has fostered a system of trade which robbed the thrifty and virtuous 
to pay the debts of the indolent and vicious; it has squandered the 
funds for civilization and schools ; it has connived at theft ; it has 
winked at murder; and at last, after dragging the savage down to a 
brutishness unknown to his fathers, it has brought a harvest of blood 
to our own door. 

It was under this Indian system that the fierce, warlike Sioux were 
fitted and trained to be the actors in this bloody drama ; and the same 
causes are to-day slowly but surely preparing the way for a Chippe- 
way war. There is not to-day an old citizen of Minnesota who will 
not shrug his shoulders as he speaks of the dishonesty which accom 
panied the purchase of the lands of the Sioux. It left in savage- 
minds a deep sense of injustice. There followed ten years of savage 
life, unchecked by law, and uninfluenced by good example. They 
were taught by white men that lying was no disgrace, adultery no 
sin, and theft no crime. Their hunting-grounds were gone ; the on 
ward march of civilization crowded them on every side. Their only 
possible hope of being saved from starvation was the fidelity with 
which a great nation fulfilled its plighted faith, which before God and 
man it had pledged to its heathen wards. The people here on the 
border, and the rulers at Washington, know how that faith has been 
broken. The constant irritations of such a system would in time have 
secured an Indian massacre. It was hastened and precipitated by 
the sale of nearly 800,000 acres of land, for which they never received 
one farthing, for it was all absorbed in claims. Then came the story 
(and it was true) that half of their annuity money had also been taken 

* In the advertisement for Indian supplies during the autumn of the Sioux mas 
sacre were ICO doz. scalping-knives, 600 Ibs. of beads, 100 doz. butcher-knives, 150 
Ibs. of paint. 


for claims. They waited two months, mad, exasperated, hungry 
the agent utterly powerless to undo the wrong committed at Wash 
ington and they resolved on savage vengeance. For every dollar 
of which they have been defrauded we shall pay ten dollars in the 
cost of this war. It has been so for fifty years, it will be so again. 
God s retributive justice always has compelled a people to reap exact 
ly what they have permitted to be sown. In the Chippeway country 
there was the same wretched policy, and, if possible, tenfold more of 
wrong. They had seen an innocent woman die by the brutal violence 
of white men. They knew that fictitious amounts were certified to, 
and dead men s names placed on the pay-rolls. They saw disease and 
death holding a carnival in every Indian village, and they knew that 
much of their sorrow was a cup of degradation which we had given 
them to drink. They have always been our friends, and, hoping 
against hope, have waited for the tardy justice of white men. Last 
fall a crafty leader sought to use these elements of discontent to ex 
cite an Indian outbreak, and, had it not been that there was a Chris 
tian Indian clergyman, and faithful Indian friends to give us warn 
ing, there would have been another devastated border. That Indian 
clergyman lost his all by his fidelity. His eldest son, then sick, died 
in consequence of that night journey ; another child is lying at the 
point of death ; and his wife is broken-hearted with grief and care. 
His Indian friends were many of them also sufferers from the anger 
of their savage people, but they felt overpaid by having saved their 
white friends from death. The Indian Commissioner, the Secretary 
of the Interior, the Clerk of the Department, all knew these facts, and 
pledged these men, in the name of their Great Father, ample reward 
and protection for their fidelity, and that the leaders in this attempt 
ed insurrection should be punished. The Legislature of the state also 
sent a commission to the Indian country, and they made pledges in a 
solemn treaty that all past wrongs should be redressed. Has any such 
examination been made ? any effort made to redress these wrongs ? 
The Indian chiefs say that the government has rewarded the wrong 
doer,* whom they can prove had made a treaty with Little Crow, and 
they also say that the reason of this reward is that he knew too much 
of the past robberies of his own people. They warn us that the gov 
ernment is teaching their young men that they will be losers to follow 
the advice of good chiefs, and that we will surely secure a bolder out 
break and massacre. They complain that no discrimination is ever 
made between the good and the bad Indian ; that no law punishes 



the one or protects the other ; that no efforts are made to redress their 
wrongs ; that no help is offered them to become like white men ; that 
we are crowding them into their graves ; and that, however much 
they desire peace, the time is coming when we shall compel them to 
a choice of deaths. After months of waiting for the fulfillment of 
these pledges, these Indians have received at the hands of their agent 
a treaty, which they are urged to sign at once. The alternative is 
peaceable or forcible removal. This treaty provides that they shall 
relinquish all their reservations, many of which are valuable, and re 
ceive as payment therefor a tract of country, much of it so poor that 
it is absolutely valueless. Any white man who has traveled over that 
country knows that these Indians can not live on that proposed res 
ervation without they are aided far beyond the provisions of this 
treaty. It has filled the friendly Indians with sorrow, and the bad 
with anger. A chief who did as much as any man to prevent a Chip- 
peway war said in the council that he thought their Great Father 
would never have asked Indians to give up their homes, who had lived 
in peace with the white man, and been so faithful to them. He said 
that no confidence can be placed in white men s words, for they have 
again and again made promises which they have broken. He said, 
" Before you came to us we had plenty and were happy, but since we 
sold you our land we are growing poorer and poorer every day. If 
you will take away our annuities, you may do so ; we can not leave 
our country; we love the place where good braves and chiefs closed 
their eyes ; we love our country as much as you love your great city 
at Washington, named after your great chief; we can not leave it." 
This feeling that our faith has been broken is common among the 
Chippeways. During the last summer I visited the Indians at Eed 
Lake. After the services, the head chief came to me and said, " You 
have spoken good words to us ; you are the servant of the Great Spir 
it. I want you to go and see my people s gardens, and then I will 
ask your advice." I took the chief s pony, and rode four miles through 
cornfields, every acre of which was cultivated with the hoe. I ate 
new corn and new potatoes from these gardens the first week in Au 
gust. My interpreter counted twenty-nine sacks of last year s corn in 
one lodge, and we hardly found a lodge without plenty of old corn. 
On my return the chief said, "You have seen my people; they have 
plenty ; they are not hungry. Our Great Father is about to send a 
commissioner here to buy our land ; I have noticed that whenever In 
dians sell their lands to their Great Father, they always perish. I 
should be sorry to have my people become like the Indians at Crow 


Wing. Will the bishop tell me all that he has in his head?" Never 
did my cheeks mantle as they did then with shame. What could I 
say ? If I told him what I knew, no treaty could have been made, 
and I could not afford to have the government accuse me of prevent 
ing the making of an Indian treaty. I simply said, " I am a spiritual 
chief; I have no right to say one word about treaties ; I can advise 
you what to do when you do sell your land. Select your home, not 
for its game, but as a place where you can live as white men, by labor. 
Take your pay, not in paint, beads, and hatchets, but in implements 
of labor. Try to become like white men ; embrace the white man s 
religion ; the Great Spirit will bless you, and you will save your peo 

Recently I received a message from an old chief : it was a story he 
told his young men : " A very nice and pretty bird of all colors came 
and sang beside our village ; a voice said, Listen not to him ; pay 
no heed to his song; look not on his colors: he went away. He 
came again with finer colors and sweeter songs, and he continued to 
do so until we heard him, and he led us away to die. The bird is 
the big knives, his songs are his fair words and lying promises, his 
colors are the paints, the beads, and goods he gives for our country : 
woe to us, for the day we hear the big knives words we go to our 

Our Indian clergyman writes to me : " Do, dear bishop, do all you 
can for my dying people ; to-day, if we had never seen the white 
man, we would be a hundred times better off; our only hope is in 
you ; if you fail we shall perish ; that the good bishop may yet be the 
means of doing much good to our oppressed people, in private and 
public we make our devotions. We have remembered him at the 
throne of grace, and may he, as our spiritual parent, live many days, 
and be the means of the salvation of our people." Can I hear the 
cry of this wretched people and be silent ? Can I see these wrongs 
and not speak out ? I should be ashamed of my manhood if I dared 
to be silent ; I should be recreant to my awful trust as shepherd of 
souls ! 

I shall be told it is too late to reform. It is never too late to re 
dress wrong. It will cost time, labor, and money. This course of 
injustice will provoke a Chippeway war, and our people can imagine 
what that war will be when savage foes have wilderness hiding-places 
filled with lakes, swamps, and thickets 300 miles long and 300 miles 
broad. Such a war we tried in Florida. After long years of wasted 
treasure and precious lives sacrificed, we may hunt thorn out. But 


the most expensive justice would be a thousand-fold cheaper. The 
chiefs among the Chippeways desire peace ; they dread a war more 
than we do. This whole question can be settled whenever good men 
can say to them your people shall be cared for honestly and faithful 
ly ; but mere promises will not answer. On my recent visit they 
plead with me for hours, and asked me to write their old friend 
Wabah Manomin (Senator Kice) to come and settle all these ques 
tions. But they say truly an unjust treaty will never be approved by 
the Indians. It must lead to war. The people, who have no interest 
in the gains of this wicked system, are desirous for such reform ; but 
the agitations, the threats of public speakers, the retaliatory measures 
offered in the Legislature, are all read by half-bloods on the border, 
and repeated with exaggeration to Indians, and they are like goads 
to drive them to madness. 

There are questions pressing upon us more grave than the hanging 
of a few hundred Indian prisoners. They concern a nation s broken 
faith and the reform of a crying evil. Deeply as our people feel on 
the question of slavery, they may see here on the border a system 
which in curses to body and soul, in the loss of manhood, home, and 
heaven, has worked out a degradation to Bed men which slavery 
never has done for the African race. 

For openly asking this reform I have been accused of sympathy 
with savage crimes. The story was sent out on the wings of the 
wind that my absence from my diocese was to secure pardon for sav- 
nge murderers, when the truth was that I visited Washington at the 
request of the governor to secure protection for our defenseless people, 
and I delayed my return simply to secure relief for our poor homeless 
sufferers. I have no desire to condemn individuals. There have 
been Indian traders and Indian agents who have desired to do their 
duty, but they were utterly powerless. The blame of the Sioux mas 
sacre does not lie at the agent s door. The same system which has 
destroyed Indian missions has fettered them. I submit to every man 
the question whether the time has not come for a nation to hear the 
cry of wrong, if not for the sake of the heathen, for the sake of the 
memory of our friends whose bones are bleaching on our prairies. I 
should feel less sad at this history of sorrow if I did not see that in 
Canada there has never been an Indian massacre or an Indian war. 
They are not compelled, as we, to remove the Indians or live in ter 
ror. They spend a hundredth part in preventing that we spend in 
suppressing Indian outbreaks. Their missions are prospered and 
ours are blasted they live in peace, and we live in perpetual strife. 


More than a year ago I felt that we were living over a slumbering 
volcano ; I felt sure that the day was at hand when it would burst 
forth; I plead with all the earnestness of a man pleading for his 
home; and I believe, if my prayer had been heard, there would be 
no widowed wives, nor orphaned children, nor blackened homes from 
this savage war. Last fall I sent another petition to our chief magis 
trate signed by all of our Northern Bishops, and many of the first 
clergy and laity in the nation. It was as follows : 

To his Excellency the President of the United States: 

SIR, We respectfully call your attention to the recent Indian out 
break, which has desolated one of the fairest portions of our country, 
as demanding the careful examination of the government. 

The history of our relations with the Indian tribes of North Amer 
ica shows that after they enter into treaty stipulations with the United 
States a rapid deterioration always takes place. They become de 
graded, liable to savage outbreaks, often incited to war, until at last 
the wretched remnant perish from the face of the earth. 

It is believed that much of this record has been the result of funda 
mental errors in the policy of the government, which thwarts its kind 
intentions toward this hopeless race. We therefore respectfully call 
your attention to the following suggestions : 

First, That it is impolitic for our government to treat a heathen 
community living within, our borders as an independent nation, but 
that they ought to be regarded as our wards. So far as we know, 
the English government has never had an Indian war in Canada, 
while we have seldom passed a year without one. 

Second, That it is dangerous to ourselves and to them to leave these 
Indian tribes without a government, not subject to our own laws, and 
where every corrupt influence of the border must inevitably foster a 
spirit of revenge leading to murder and war. 

Third, That the solemn responsibility of the care of a heathen race 
requires that the agent and servants of the government who have 
them in charge shall be men of eminent fitness, and in no case should 
such offices be regarded as a reward for political service. 

Fourth, That every feeling of honor and of justice demands that 
the Indian funds which we hold from them as a trust shall be care 
fully expended under some well-devised system which will encourage 
their efforts toward civilization. 

Fifth, That the present system 7>f Indian trade is mischievous and 
demoralizing, and ought to be so amended as to protect the Indian, 


and wholly to prevent the possibility of the sale of the patrimony of 
the tribe to satisfy individual debts. 

Sixth, That it is believed that the history of our dealings with the 
Indians has been marked by gross acts of injustice and robbery, such 
as could not be prevented under the present system of management, 
and that these wrongs have often proved the prolific cause of war and 
bloodshed. It is due to these helpless Bed men that these evils shall 
be redressed, and without this we can not hope for the blessing of Al 
mighty God in our efforts to secure permanent peace and tranquillity 
on our western border. 

We feel that these results can not be secured without much careful 
thought, and .therefore request you to take such steps as may be nec 
essary to appoint a commission of men of high character, who have 
no political ends to subserve, to whom may be referred this whole 
question, in order that they may devise a more perfect system for the 
administration of Indian affairs, which shall redress these wrongs, 
preserve the honor of the government, and call down upon us the 
blessings of God. 

H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota. 

T. H. CLARK, Bishop of Khode Island. 

JACKSON KEMPER, Bishop of Wisconsin. 

C. S. HAWKS, Bishop of Missouri. 

GEORGE BURGESS, Bishop of Maine. 

HENRY J. WIIITEHOUSE, Bishop of Illinois. 

ALONZO POTTER, Bishop of Pennsylvania. 

CARLTON CHASE, Bishop of New Hampshire. 

ALFRED LEE, Bishop of Delaware. 

CHARLES P. M !LVAINE, Bishop of Ohio. 

B. B. SMITH, Bishop of Kentucky. 

MANTON EASTBURN, Bishop of Massachusetts. 

HORATIO POTTER, Bishop of New York. 

G. T. BEDELL, Assistant Bishop of Ohio. 

S. P. PARKER, Rector of St. Paul s Church, Stockton. 

GEO. C. SHATTUCK, Deputy from Massachusetts. 

ANDREW OLIVER, Rec. Immanuel Ch., Bellows Falls, Vt. 

J. L. CLARK, Rector St. John s Ch.,Waterbury, Conn. 

M. SCHUYLER, Rector of Christ Church, St. Louis. 

T. WILCOXON, Missionary in Minnesota. 

R. S. ADAMS, Rector St. Andrew s Ch., Brooklyn, N. Y. 

FRANCIS CHASE, Rec. Sf. Andrew s Ch., Hopkinton, N. H. 

ALEX. BURGESS, Rector St. Luke s Ch., Portland, Maine. 



JOHN W. ANDREWS, of Ohio. 


WM. WELSH, of Philadelphia. 


ISAAC ATWATER, Ass. Justice Supreme Court, Minn. 

Jos. C. TALBOT, Missionary Bishop of Northwest. 

WM. BACON STEVENS, Assist. Bishop of Pennsylvania. 

HENRY W. LEE, Bishop of Diocese of Iowa. 

GEORGE UPFOLD, Bishop of Indiana. 

NICHOLAS HOPPIN, Rec. Christ Ch., Cambridge, Mass. 

JOHN E. WARREN, of St. Paul. 

E. T. WILDER, Red Wing, Minnesota. 

L. BRADISH, of New York. 

SAMUEL B. EUGGLES, of New York. 

FRED. S. WINSTON, of New York. 

I am sick at heart ; I fear the words of one of our statesmen to me 
were true : " Bishop, every word you say of this Indian system is true ; 
the nation knows it. It is useless ; you will not be heard. Your 
faith is only like that of the man that stood on the bank of the river 
waiting for the water to run by that he might cross over dry shod." 
All I have to say is, that if a nation trembling on the brink of anar 
chy and ruin is so dead that it will not hear a plea to redress wrongs 
which the whole people admit call for reform, God in mercy pity us 
and our children. H. B. WHIFFLE, Bishop of Minnesota. 

Since the bishop prepared the foregoing paper, I have received the 
following letter from Mr. George Bunga, of Leech Lake. I would 
state that Mr. Bunga is a mixed blood of African and Chippeway 
descent, and from my personal knowledge of him for many years 
past I know him to be entirely reliable in his statements, and from a 
residence in the country described by him I can bear witness to the 
truth of them. J. LLOYD BRECK. 

Leech Lake, January 28th, 1863. 
To Rev. J. Lloyd Breck : 

REVEREND SIR, Knowing your feelings, and those of the bishop, 
for the Red men, I thought I would write you and let you know what 
was going on in Indian matters in this part of the country. Nothing 
that we could say could prevail on the Red Lake Indians to get them 
to go to Washington to make a treaty, they had it so firmly in their 


minds that once they got there they would have to accept of what 
was offered them. They said they were willing to meet any one at 
the Grand Forks next summer, and there sell their lands. Most of 
the annuity chiefs have got back from the agency, where they were 
called to sign a treaty that had been dictated and left by Judge 
Usher. They did not sign it. The purport of the treaty was, that 
all the Mississippi bands would abandon their reserves, and settle on 
a tract of country lying between this and Cass, and Winnipeg Lakes. 
The judge must have got the idea from maps, or some person that 
wanted to have something to say and did not care what he said, or 
probably some one had an axe of his own to grind, and after ground, 
would not care what became of the Indians, or the whites that may 
be living with them. The idea is ridiculous to us who know the 
country. The most of it is swamps, marshes, or the kind of country 
that produces the small, black, low pine. There are only a few small 
lakes, but there is no fish or rice in them. The government land at 
Cass Lake is nothing but this yellow pine and sand, and the whole 
of that country is destitute of any kind of game, and even rabbits are 
but few. It is true, at this lake there is a fair view for them to get 
along, and their children after them, and in such a kind of country, 
with one tenth of the money that the government has already spent 
for them, would induce them, little by little, and would hope to be 
come another people, and their children would be enabled to mingle 
among the civilized world. I am led to believe why their chances 
to benefit the Indians, and to agree with the wishes of the govern 
ment are not acted on, is because that persons are sent, and too often 
they are men who pay no attention, for the reason they are afraid 
they would not come within their jurisdiction, and of course would be 
no benefit to their pockets, and some of them would be against any 
thing of the kind if it did not suit them. Few persons are so well 
acquainted with the Chippeways and their former country as myself, 
for I have lived with almost every band from Sault St. Mary to this, 
and am well acquainted with all their lakes and rivers, from the Lakes 
Superior to Michigan, and I honestly say I don t know of a lake or 
river that abounds in fish as the Red Lake, and Red Lake River, and 
from thence up the Thieving River. From the first time I became 
acquainted with these rivers it seemed to me it was designed by the 
Great Spirit for the home of the Indians. There is every thing to 
make them content. Plenty of good land (part prairie), and fish 
right at their doors. The objection I see, that there is not so many 
maple-trees as could be wished for, but perhaps some could be found 


in the interior. Reverend sir, it looks to me that we have got to a 
crisis that has not been known in this country. The Indians are 
very much dissatisfied, and the whites below won t have the Indians 
about them any more, and we all feel that something has got to be 
done. There is some government land, but it is and has always been 
occupied by these Indians as their sugar-camp. At the time of their 
treaty of 1855 they were given to understand that they might use it, 
and the whites would not want it for one hundred years to come. 
Knowing the country as I do, I am aware that there is not five sugar- 
camps within two days travel of this lake that was belonging to the 
Leech Lake Indians, and if the Lower Indians are moved on their 
lands, they will have to occupy those sugar-camps, and thence would 
come the strife among themselves and dissatisfaction against the 
whites, and perhaps the cause of more trouble. Of late years these 
Indians have had as hard times for want of food in the summer as 
they have in the winter; the only difference is the warm weather, 
and berries and roots. There is not one half of the fish caught now 
that there was at the time you resided at this lake ; in fact, we know 
that it can t be otherwise when we know that every day there is from 
three to four hundred nets in the water, and from eight hundred to 
one thousand Indians living by them. Reverend sir, how can it be 
expected that Indians can live in such a country as I have described, 
which I defy any one to say to the contrary. It is to be supposed 
that they will hear of the kind of country that they are required to 
settle on, and it is my poor opinion that they will never go unless the 
soldiers drive and keep them there. Even if they went there they 
can t get an existence without they rob and plunder the whites, and 
thence perhaps the beginning of the extermination of these Indians. 
Pardon me if I say here, that if the government is induced to move 
and keep these Indians, what will be the cost. I am to be pitied for 
writing as I do ; would it not be more satisfactory to the government, 
and thousands of dollars cheaper, to move them at once to a suitable 
country, and where they would be out of the way of the whites? 

I wrote to Senator Rice a few days ago, and stated to him about 
the Red Lake Country, but was not so particular in defining as here, 
for I don t see how the Indians can be friends to the whites in such 
a state of affairs. Another question, Who is the person that can 
straighten out things and make the path smooth? Such a man is 
now wanted. Of late the Indians have been so mixed up that now 
they have no confidence in the government or its officers. I presume 
the bad health of Senator Rice would not allow him to come to this 


wild country, for I candidly believe he is the only man that can make 
a removal of the Indians satisfactory to them, for it must be taken into 
consideration that it is ten times more difficult to move Indians than 
it is to make a treaty to buy their lands. Senator Rice has this in 
favor more than any one else that could be sent by the government. 
Every trader and half-breed, or any person of influence, are his friends, 
and that is a good deal in removing Indians ; and these people have 
always told them that he was the friend of the Indian, and would do 
every thing in justice that lay in his power for them. The cry is, I 
wish Wabe Manomin would come to us once more. They have that 
respect for him that in their smoking and camp-fires it is seldom but 
that they speak of him. My sincere wish is that the Indian Depart 
ment at Washington only knew what a suitable country there was 
vacant for the permanent home of the Chippeways ; it appears to me 
it would be adopted, for it is of no use to the whites, and it would 
agree with one of the great wishes of the government by placing the 
Indian where he would not be in the way of the white population, 
and, with some care on the part of the government, the ruination of 
all Indians (fire-water) could be kept from him. 

Reverend sir, what I have written is strictlv true ; and how proud 
I would be if I saw some person (disinterested, and some sympathy 
and justice to the Indians), to be here at the opening of the Lakes, 
say the 25th of April, and see the country that I have here written 
about ; I feel confident that my opinion would be the opinion of all 
who wished for the existence of the Chippeways some years longer. 
I write of this country because I know that there is no other part of 
the former Chippeway country that they can be moved to and live. 

Reverend sir, knowing how hard the bishop works for the welfare 
of the Indian, I beg of you to show him this, my poor opinion as re 
gards the removal of the Indians. I ought to have said, too, that the 
Otter Tail band was ordered by Judge Usher to come on their re 
serves at this lake. So they will have to get a share of these sugar- 
camps ; for you are aware that a Chippeway without fish, or the 
means to make sugar, would be as strange to him as a white man with 
out a shirt. Your unworthy servant, G. BUNGA. 




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